HARARE – Miffed by the crude, personal and escalating insults and threats against him by his erstwhile Zanu PF colleagues, former Presidential Affairs minister Didymus Mutasa says the obsession that some ruling party bigwigs have with him constitutes “utter madness”.\r\n\r\nBY FUNGI KWARAMBA\r\n\r\nMutasa also told the Daily News in an interview yesterday that the shrill threats to strip him of his parliamentary seat and to expel him from Zanu PF would not stop him and his group of disaffected party stalwarts from pursuing their planned court action against the ruling party.\r\n\r\n“They (Zanu PF hardliners) are mad. They have been showing that madness all along. They are gangsters,” he said.\r\n\r\nThese comments by the strong-willed Headlands legislator came in the wake of his ongoing savage and public shellacking by\r\nZanu PF leaders, including President Robert Mugabe who is now in the unbecoming habit of insulting Mutasa each time he addresses ruling party supporters.\r\n\r\nIgnatius Chombo, the party’s newly-installed secretary for administration, and Savior Kasukuwere, the Zanu PF secretary for the commissariat, said this week that the disciplinary committee that has been set up to hear Mutasa’s case of alleged gross indiscipline would not be altered, notwithstanding Mutasa’s reservations against the bona fides of some of the members of the committee.\r\n\r\nKasukuwere and Chombo, who both sit in the controversial disciplinary committee, have already pronounced publicly that Mutasa should be booted out of Zanu PF even before the veteran nationalist has appeared before their committee — raising questions of fatal bias by the arbiters-turned firing squad.\r\n\r\nBut Mutasa said yesterday party leaders were “barking the wrong tree” and he remained determined to restore normalcy, legitimacy and democracy to Zanu PF.\r\n\r\nAnd reacting to claims that the party’s Manicaland leadership, which includes politburo members Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri and Patrick Chinamasa, had already found a replacement to take over his Headlands seat, he said such reports confirmed the rot that had now taken root in Zanu PF.\r\n\r\n“That candidate is Chingosho, a director in the ministry of Women Affairs. We all know that they are doing all this without the will of the people,” Mutasa charged.\r\n\r\nHe said it was unfortunate that the party was not concentrating its efforts and energy on fixing the country’s comatose economy, particularly mechanisms to implement its ambitious economic blueprint programme, ZimAsset, to extricate long-suffering Zimbabweans from the jaws of poverty.\r\n\r\n“How does my case benefit Zanu PF or the people of Zimbabwe? Nothing.\r\n\r\nSo they leave their jobs day and night and talk nonsense about me instead of looking for money to implement ZimAsset,” Mutasa said.\r\n\r\nZimAsset, Zanu PF’s policy framework that covers the period between 2014 and 2018, ambitiously seeks to grow the economy by 6,1 percent this year and 7,3 percent next year — in addition to the quest to create value of $7,3 billion from the indigenisation of 1 138 companies across 14 key sectors of the economy, and to unlock as much as $2 trillion in the economy.\r\n\r\nBoth political and economic observers say the project is a pipe-dream as Zanu PF’s focus remains on it’s retention of political power at all costs.\r\n\r\nMutasa, who earlier told the Daily News that he would attend the disciplinary hearing only out of respect for Mugabe, said yesterday the economic war should be “the only game in town” given the country’s pressing economic difficulties which are typified by a debilitating liquidity crunch, company closures, and a glaring lack of investment.\r\n\r\nHe added that he would pursue his court case against Zanu PF over its “illegal congress” because the damp squib gathering had “nothing to do with the (mooted) disciplinary proceeding”.\r\n\r\n“I had made the decision to go to court well before the committee was set up,” he said.\r\n\r\nResponding to why the ruling party had taken this route to deal with him instead of summarily expelling him as they did to his comrades Rugare Gumbo and Jabulani Sibanda, Mutasa said he was equally at sea about this.\r\n\r\n“I have not been charged. I have not been invited to any hearing. All this should happen before I can decide to give in or not.\r\n\r\n“We should therefore wait to ask and answer these questions until they charge me and invite me to the hearing,” Mutasa said.