HARARE – In a sensational claim that analysts say helps explain the political and economic mess that Zimbabwe finds itself in, former Presidential Affairs minister Didymus Mutasa has revealed that President Robert Mugabe does not tolerate diversity of thought, makes all government decisions and does not consult anyone including his ministers.

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mutasaSpeaking to the Daily News yesterday, in the aftermath of the embarrassing civil servants bonus debacle which saw Mugabe publicly rebuking hapless Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa, the former senior Cabinet minister and close confidante of Mugabe for decades said the nonagenarian always made unilateral decisions and did not care a hoot about the consequences.

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Also admitting to having been complicit in many historical mistakes, Mutasa said Mugabe had systematically centralised power over the years and was in the bad habit of making important decisions without either consulting or the knowledge and buy-in of his ministers.

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At the same time, Mutasa expressed his surprise and horror at how major national post-independence atrocities such as the Gukurahundi massacres of the early 1980s and the Murambatsvina forced removals of 2005 had been allowed to happen.

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In the case of Gukurahundi, the army’s North-Korean trained 5th Brigade stands accused of killing an estimated 20 000 innocent civilians mainly in Matabeleland and the Midlands.

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“I was the Speaker of Parliament when Gukurahundi was taking place. Are you asking the current Speaker Jacob Mudenda about what is happening in government now. Nobody knows what was happening during Gukurahundi, we were just hearing stories,” Mutasa said when quizzed by the Daily News about the government’s human rights abuses especially Gukurahundi.

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He said Zimbabweans should vigorously demand answers on these matters and others from the country’s leadership which had dispatched the 5th Brigade to the south-western parts of the country ostensibly to crush dissident activities in those areas.

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And specifically asked by the Daily News to say what his role was in the death of Christpowers Maisiri — the boy who died under contested circumstances in his former constituency of Headlands — Mutasa said former MDC secretary general Tendai Biti, who had publicly accused him of murdering the boy in 2013, was currently facing defamatory charges in court because he had told the nation “lies”.

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“I was not there when that boy was killed and never had a hand in his death,” an emotional Mutasa said.

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He said he was mostly “a mere pawn” during his time in government and did not have control or a voice in the manner in which the government enforced programmes such as Operation Murambatsvina.

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Citing Chinamasa’s humiliating public shellacking by Mugabe during Independence Day celebrations on Saturday, as an example, Mutasa said most ministers in cabinet were “mere sailors who are not in control of the ship”.

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“I was never head of government, so why don’t you ask Mugabe? Why do you ask me about Murambatsvina?

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“I accept that I was part of his cabinet but honestly I do not know about how those things happened. Look at Chinamasa, he honestly says there is no bonus only for Mugabe to say he is lying.

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“The government has always been disjointed because Mugabe is the centre of power and we as ministers were never consulted. Remember I was once fired when I questioned the Esap (Economic Structural Adjustment Programme),” Mutasa said.

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Since Zanu PF’s disputed congress last year at which Mugabe purged officials believed to be loyal to former Vice President Joice Mujuru, there has been complete anarchy both with the ruling party and in government, with First Lady Grace Mugabe seemingly directing the mayhem.

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Mugabe himself admitted at the congress that he was being told what to do by his much younger wife – a situation that insiders say caused the split of the ruling party into two bitterly opposed Zanu PF formations, one led by the nonagenarian and the other apparently by Mujuru and calling itself the original Zanu PF and using the slogan People First.

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Analysts have pointed out that by insisting that they are the original Zanu PF, the People First movement is trying to hit Mugabe where it hurts because he was not part of the team of liberation heroes who formed the party.

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Firebrand former war veterans leader, Jabulani Sibanda, who also stands accused of engaging in violent campaigns while in Zanu PF ahead of the 2013 polls, also spoke about the Gukurahundi massacres yesterday saying he was also a victim of the murders.

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“I stood up against Gukurahundi. At that time I was Nkomo’s aide and I was locked up in Khami for standing up against Gukurahundi and then later transferred to Chikurubi Maximum Prison where I was tortured because I was standing up against a genocide,” Sibanda said.

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Quizzed by the Daily News about his role ahead of the 2013 elections, the outspoken war veteran said anyone with evidence that would pin any murders or violent activities against him should bring it up.

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“When Murambatsvina came I supported the relocation of the people and not the demolition of their homes. I was against the placing of people in some form of concentration camps. I believed that government should provide shelter and that the relocation of people should be done gradually,” Sibanda said. – Daily News