Mutasa back, ‘raring to go’

HARARE – Former Zanu PF secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa has returned home from India and is expected to join a team of disaffected party cadres who are set to challenge the outcome of the party’s damp squib “elective” congress that was held in Harare last year.\r\n\r\nSources close to the Makoni North legislator told the Daily News yesterday that Mutasa was currently recuperating at his home in Rusape after he and his wife underwent treatment, first in South Africa and then in India late last year.\r\n\r\n“Yes, Nyathi is back and is resting. Soon he is going to issue a statement around the sham congress and also announce the progress made in engaging regional partners to censure the party,” one of the sources said.\r\n\r\nWhile efforts to speak to Mutasa yesterday did not bear fruit, his close associates said he returned home on Saturday, together with his wife.\r\n\r\nMutasa has mockingly referred to Zanu PF’s congress as “a non-event” and his return home is likely to ignite a showdown between him and party hardliners — with many of them already baying for his blood.\r\n\r\nAnd with Mutasa and other disgruntled former party heavyweights refusing to accept their brutal purge — Zimbabwe could soon find itself back on Sadc’s political agenda after the fearless former close confidant of Mugabe wrote a hard-hitting letter to regional leaders imploring them to intervene in the country’s deepening political crisis spawned by the ruling party’s ruthless and sometimes violent infighting.\r\n\r\nIn his blunt letter to Sadc late last year — which was ironically addressed to Mugabe and copied to all regional heads of state — Mutasa described the political environment prevailing in the country as “critical” and said pointedly that Zanu PF’s December congress was “a farce”.\r\n\r\nThe letter also showed that far from ending Zanu PF’s ugly factional and succession wars, as party leaders had hoped, the congress may have in fact once again internationalised Zimbabwe’s political crisis.\r\n\r\nUntil his ouster, Mutasa was regarded both as a close aide of Mugabe and also a key advisor to Mujuru, who was until recently touted as the most likely successor to the country’s long-ruling nonagenarian.\r\n\r\nIn the letter, Mutasa said Zimbabwe was presently trapped in a critical time that required the intervention of the regional body.\r\n\r\n“After a number of weeks of what might be regarded as ‘political squabbling’ in the Republic of Zimbabwe, events have taken a much more severe turn. We refuse to simply stand by and watch as constitutional democracy and due process are tossed aside for political expediency.\r\n\r\n“Even the most impartial observer could not fail to regard the recent Congress of the governing party, Zanu PF, as a farce.\r\n\r\n“In the days leading up to the congress,\r\n\r\nsignificant changes to the electoral process of the party leadership were introduced, with limited consultation.\r\n\r\n“These changes were part of a wider campaign to discredit and then force out a number of good men and women, comrades who have served their country and party with loyalty, under the distinguished leadership of His Excellency, President R.G Mugabe.\r\n\r\n“To suggest that (former) Vice President (Joice) Mujuru, ministers serving in the government and other party members are somehow plotting to oust our President from office, as has been relentlessly and recklessly reported and repeated in recent weeks, is ridiculous.\r\n\r\n“Further, it is offensive to insinuate that those who put their lives and families at risk to fight for a free and fair Zimbabwe would now somehow put themselves before their country. Such actions are outrageous to those of us represented by this letter.\r\n\r\n“Unfortunately, recent weeks have demonstrated that the same cannot be said of others in Zanu PF. They are the ones putting their own careers ahead of democracy, due process and the stability of the country, destroying as it were, the party from within.\r\n\r\n“As the governing party of Zimbabwe, Zanu PF has a responsibility to hold itself to the highest standards of transparency and integrity.\r\n\r\nThe decisions the party takes ultimately have implications for millions of Zimbabweans.\r\n\r\n“Therefore we would like to stress to the Sadc Community that those for whom this letter speaks denounce the flagrant abuse of party procedure and the subversion of due process as a means of exercising personal political ambition and score-settling.\r\n\r\n“Given its constitutional implications, we are appealing to the Sadc Community to provide oversight in this on-going dispute. It despairs us to say that we have completely lost confidence in our party, government and legislature to deliver proper justice,” Mutasa’s letter said.\r\n\r\nSpecifically, Mutasa added in his letter, he and other ousted officials wanted Sadc to be aware of their position on a number of matters.\r\n\r\n“We refuse to be expelled from Zanu PF. We have sacrificed too much over five decades, to be forced out on the basis of completely fabricated allegations.\r\n\r\n“We demand the restoration of the principle of “one man, one vote” to the constitution of Zanu PF. The recent amendments adopted at the 6th congress surrender all votes to the President. It is a violation of the supreme law of the Republic of Zimbabwe and therefore invalidates all binding decisions taken at the 6th congress.\r\n\r\n“By implication, we demand that the Party immediately re-establish the exact constitutional, operational and procedural principles extant before the 6th congress.\r\n\r\n“We require impartial oversight by the (Sadc) Community, or another appropriate body, to ensure the peaceful resolution of this matter.\r\n\r\n“Most importantly, we would like the Community and others to be aware that we do not endorse violence or intimidation of any sort in the name of our cause to restore constitutional order to Zimbabwe. We fought in the liberation struggle so we would never have to fight again,” Mutasa’s letter added.\r\n\r\nBefore this letter to Sadc, it had been reported that Mutasa had attempted to engage Zuma to intervene once again in Zimbabwe’s deepening political crisis.\r\n\r\nMujuru, Mutasa and other senior officials were removed from their party positions and subsequently sacked from government after they were accused of plotting to oust and assassinate Mugabe, among a litany of other damaging but untested allegations. -Daily News