HARARE – Former Presidential Affairs minister Didymus Mutasa has announced he will be bringing the curtain down on his long political career once a substantive leadership has been elected for his Zimbabwe People First (ZPF) opposition party.
Mutasa was sacked from both government and Zanu PF in 2014 together with other party stalwarts — who included former vice president Joice Mujuru and ex-Cabinet minister and the then spokesman Rugare Gumbo — over untested allegations of plotting to topple Mugabe.
“I do not intend to become president of this country in the future owing to my age. In fact, you may want to know that I don’t wish to continue in politics any longer than this, as I will retire from active politics once we have settled for a substantive leadership of the party.
“It does not make any sense for me to be saying Mugabe has overstayed and therefore he must go when at the same time I am still vying for political office yet he is only 10 or so years older than me.
“I, together with Gumbo, are working on ensuring that the party has proper structures and has a new leadership before I quit because I cannot just wake up and tell others that I am retiring,” Mutasa told the Daily News in an exclusive interview.
Mutasa’ attempts to revive his political career after he was sacked from both Zanu PF and government, have not been met with success as the ZPF has been faced with problems.
In February, exactly a year after its launch, things unravelled at the ZPF when Mujuru fired Mutasa, Gumbo and five others on suspicion that they were spying for Mugabe and Zanu PF.
Immediately after Mujuru’s announcement, Mutasa and Gumbo convened their own press conference and announced they had fired Mujuru.
Mujuru is now leading the National People’s Party (NPP) which is battling to stem mass desertions by disgruntled members.
Mutasa and Gumbo remained as the interim leaders of ZPF.
Meanwhile, Mutasa has also explained that he and Gumbo have parted ways with former allies Agrippa Mutambara and Kudakwashe Bhasikiti after they allegedly sought to “impose themselves as the ZPF substantive leadership”.
“We know they are going about misleading people that they are working with me and Gumbo. That is not true.
“They have left ZPF when they made their failed attempt at grabbing power and we are actually contemplating taking legal action against them for using our name without our consent,” said Mutasa.
The veteran politician told the Daily News at the weekend that he was struggling to make ends meet as he was failing to send his children to school while fighting off to clear huge debts.
Born in Rusape in 1935, Mutasa is a veteran nationalist who served as Zimbabwe’s first Speaker of Parliament from independence in 1980 to 1990 before holding many ministerial posts in Mugabe’s government.
Before independence, Mutasa was chairperson of the Cold Comfort Farm society, a non-racial co-operative community near the then Salisbury.
In 2007, he, along with other government officials, including Defence minister Sydney Sekeramayi, were involved in a bizarre hoax involving a witch doctor, Rotina Mavhunga, who had claimed that refined diesel was gushing from a rock in Chinhoyi.
In the March 2008 parliamentary election, Mutasa was controversially elected Headlands MP after beating MDC candidate Shepherd Maisiri amid claims by MDC that he had masterminded the death of the opposition candidate’s son Christpowers, an allegation he strenuously denied.
Mutasa held various ministerial posts, including working under Mugabe in his office as minister of State from 2009 to 2014, before he was expelled for backing former Mujuru’s bid to succeed the 93-year-old leader.