HARARE – Vocal Zanu PF member-cum-businessman and musician, Energy Mutodi, says President Robert Mugabe is now surrounded by “praise-singers and crooks” who are abusing his advanced age to cause chaos in the country.
Pulling no punches, the Zanu PF Mashonaland East provincial executive member blamed these “praise-singers” who he declined to name in an interview with the Daily News at the weekend, for being behind Zimbabwe’s worsening rot, and also causing the current ugly factional and succession wars that are devouring the ruling party.
“It is hard for any ordinary member in the party to reach out to the top leadership. You will simply be denied the chance to do so. Remember the party is now full of praise-singers who tell the president lies everyday and are afraid to be exposed if the president is easily reachable.
“People are also fighting to remain in their Cabinet posts or to get promotions. The system is such that those in higher positions block potentially better minds and new blood from coming in. Even where you are elected by the people to get a higher post you will be blocked.
“The party needs to do what is morally right. You cannot promote corruption, breed poverty and unemployment and expect people to be silent,” Mutodi told the Daily News in the no-holds barred interview.
He said Zanu PF needed to respond positively to the demands of ordinary Zimbabweans as citizens were raising genuine concerns which demanded the party’s action.
Mugabe and Zanu PF are blamed by critics for the country’s worsening economic situation, which has seen endless demonstrations erupting in recent times.
Pro-democratic forces, including opposition political parties and radical pressure groups, say they will continue with these protests to force the increasingly frail nonagenarian to resign.
But Mugabe has not taken lightly to these protests, vowing last week to crush them, including jailing dissenters, in an ominous warning made after the High Court foiled his government’s plan to ban demonstrations.
However, Mutodi says Mugabe’s inability to come up with a clear succession plan and failure to leave office were contributing to the growing civil unrest.
“Human beings are different from donkeys and monkeys in the sense that they are anxious about the future. Currently, the people are overburdened. They see a dark cloud over them.
“Some are saying we got ourselves into this problem by voting for Zanu PF in the first place and by entrusting the leadership of the party with Mugabe. He is not willing to leave office and see how the country can move forward without him at the helm,” he told the Daily News.
“He is now advanced in age and naturally getting weaker and weaker to perform the duties of a head of State and government. That job is enormous, laborious and tremendous and hence requires a young and energetic person to be in place. This must be making people worried, as they feel cheated and betrayed.
“While he did not disappoint as he gave the people the land and built schools and universities and allowed blacks to enjoy the rights they could not be given by Smith, President Mugabe has overstayed in office and is no longer the best person to lead in the wake of the new challenges that the country is facing,” added Mutodi.
He blamed some Zanu PF members for using tribalism and regionalism in their assessment of a likely candidate to succeed Mugabe.
“There are many people in Zanu PF who are potential presidents. Emmerson Mnangagwa is one of them. Others are Sydney Sekeramayi and Ignatius Chombo.
“These men are sober and reliable. They are usable for any task and they do it properly,” said the maverick politician.
“Honestly speaking, Mnangagwa can ensure a smooth transition as he has experience and is acceptable to the key stakeholders who include the President himself, as well as the key foreign powers. He is a natural choice.”
Zanu PF is torn apart by factionalism with one group of young Turks known by the moniker Generation 40 (G40) fighting to stop Mnangagwa’s mooted presidential ambitions which his backers say is on point.