Secretary for Information and President Robert Mugabe’s spokesman George Charamba yesterday dismissed an assortment of allegations levelled against Vice-President Joice Mujuru and other ministers, describing them as mere political allegations with no legal ramifications.
In an exclusive interview with our sister paper Southern Eye at Barbourfields Stadium in Bulawayo during a tour of the African Union Region 5 Under-20 Youth Games venues, Charamba said generally, allegations of a political nature ended when the political process was over and must not be treated as legal issues.
“Political issues that turn legal are only realised when there is the involvement of the police or Attorney-General,” he said.
“All that is happening now is in the political domain and all this will end when successful politicians emerge. It is a political process, it becomes a legal issue when the judiciary is involved.”
Mujuru has been under fire from a rival faction led by Justice minister Emmerson Mnangagwa, ahead of Zanu PF’s congress next week, where Mugabe is expected to designate his preferred successor for the first time, when he handpicks members of the presidium and politburo.
As the succession fight intensifies, Mujuru and her perceived sympathisers, among them Labour minister Nicholas Goche, Zanu PF secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa, suspended national spokesman Rugare Gumbo and expelled former war veterans’ boss Jabulani Sibanda, have been fingered in sensational plots to allegedly assassinate Mugabe.
Mujuru and her purported backers have also been accused of corruption, incompetence and backbiting, resulting in most of them being blocked from contesting for places in the party’s influential central committee.
First Lady Grace Mugabe has accused Mujuru of demanding a 10% stake from potential investors as well as using her position to corruptly acquire a similar shareholding in most large companies operating in Zimbabwe.
More than a dozen ministers linked to Mujuru have lost in bids for central committee slots and their victors are likely to push for their ouster from government in sweeping changes Mugabe is set to make in a Cabinet reshuffle expected soon after the congress.
However, Charamba said he did not know whether Mugabe would reshuffle his Cabinet to mirror the ruling party’s realignment.
“The Cabinet reshuffle is the prerogative of the President and only the Almighty has the eye to read his (Mugabe) mind,” he said.
Charamba also cautioned people against reading much into the ongoing skullduggery in Zanu PF, saying it was just part of a restructuring ahead of the party’s congress next week.
He said Zanu PF’s restructuring exercise had no bearing on the functions of the government.
“I contest the idea that the restructuring happening in Zanu PF is causing problems in the government,” Charamba said.
“People who work in government are civil servants. Ideas must not be injured as they are implemented by the civil servants.”
He said Zimbabwe was not on autopilot, contending that the Cabinet was functioning as normal.
A number of ministers spent two weeks following Grace around the country during her rallies, raising concern that they were neglecting their ministerial jobs and concentrating on Zanu PF’s internal conflict, as the expense of the economy.
“Civil servants drive the government as politicians only give ideas just as ZimAsset was formulated by Zanu PF, but is being driven and implemented by civil servants.”