FORMER RULING ZANU-PF SECRETARY FOR ADMINISTRATION AND PRESIDENTIAL AFFAIRS MINISTER DIDYMUS MUTASA IS SET TO APPEAR BEFORE A SIX-MEMBER DISCIPLINARY HEARING CHAIRED BY VICE PRESIDENT PHELEKEZELA MPHOKO. OTHER MEMBERS OF THE COMMITTEE ARE SECRETARY FOR WOMENS AFFAIRS GRACE MUGABE, SECRETARY FOR LEGAL AFFAIRS PATRICK CHINAMASA, SECRETARY FOR THE COMMISSARIAT SAVIOUR KASUKUWERE, SECRETARY FOR SECURITY KEMBO MOHADI AND SECRETARY FOR YOUTHS PUPURAI TOGAREPI. THOUGH THE POLITBURO HAD ADVISED THE COMMITTEE TO “EXPEDITIUOSLY DEAL WITH THE MUTASA CASE”, PROGRESS HAD BEEN STALLED BY THE EXTENDED VACATION OF THE FIRST LADY, WHO WAS IN THE FAR EAST. MRS. MUGABE RETURNED TO ZIMBABWE SUNDAY AFTER A MINOR APPENDICITIS OPERATION. MUTASA’S MANICALAND PROVINCE AND HIS HEADLANDS CONSTITUENCY WROTE TO THE POLITBURO CALLING FOR HIS EXPULSION FROM THE PARTY ON ALLEGATIONS OF BRINGING THE NAME OF THE PARTY INTO DISREPUTE, CORRUPTION, DICTATORIAL TENDENCIES AND ABUSE OF WOMEN. MUTASA RILED THE PARTY WHEN HE DEMANDED THE NULLIFICATION OF THE DECEMBER 2014 CONGRESS CALLING IT UNCONSTITUTIONAL. MUTASA AND FORMER VICE PRESIDENT JOICE MUJURU WERE ALSO ACCUSED OF PLOTTING TO ASSASSINATE PRESIDENT MUGABE. WHILE ACCUSATIONS ARE PLENTY, EVIDENCE AND PROOF IS STILL THIN. VOA STUDIO 7’S BLESSING ZULU SPOKE TO MUTASA AND FIRST ASKED HIM IF HE WAS GOING TO ATTEND THE DISSCIPLINARY COMMITTEE HEARING.
DM. Well if they invite me, yes I will, I will attend.
BZ. But Hon Mutasa, you colleague Mr. Rugare Gumbo (expelled former party spokesman) has raised concern with the composition of that committee; he is urging you not to attend.
DM. Not only that, the committee itself is not constitutional, it’s just a special committee which I believe is set up for me, I do not think it has the legal status, which comes from the constitution, you see, in the constitution, the national chairman, is the chairman of the disciplinary committee. And then he has a number of other people including, the secretary for legal affairs, the secretary for security, and so on and so on. But this one was just appointed by the Politburo, and in the sense that we do not recognize what transpired at the so-called sixth congress, it means what it has done from that time, up to now, is also not recognizable,
BZ. Then why are you attending the hearing, when you are raising those serious concerns?
DM. Well, I will attend only out of the respect that I have for President Mugabe, he is I believe, the one who has set up this committee, through the Politburo so-called, and out of respect for him, I shall attend, but I will have to mention to them that they are an unlawful organization, they do not have the legal status, as derived from the Zanu-PF constitution that I belong to.
BZ. You are saying you still have respect for President Robert Mugabe, which is understandable, because you have worked with him for a long time, but have you had the opportunity to talk to him after the congress?
DM. No I haven’t, I have written a number of letters to him, he hasn’t responded to those letters, and so because I am junior, I just sit back and do nothing until I am invited to attend the special disciplinary committee set specially for me, I will then go and say what I am saying to you and find out how they will react.
BZ. Is there a set date for the hearing?
DM. No, haven’t been given any date. I do not even know what the thinking of that committee is, you are correct that the first lady returned to Zimbabwe a day or two ago and they were saying they have not yet met as a committee because of her absence and so I hope now that she is back they will meet and after that they will probably drop a line to me to attend the disciplinary committee.
BZ. About the letters to Mr. Mugabe, what exactly were you writing about?
DM. Well, I am saying almost the same things that I am saying to you, that the process was marred by the non-elective congress and that what we had decided would happen at that congress did not take place, and therefore as far as I am concerned the proceedings were null and void, and what comes after that is also still, null and void.
BZ. But the argument your critics are selling to the public and justifiably so, is that Mr. Mutasa invited the delegates and he had the agenda of the congress as the secretary for administration.
DM. That’s very true, not only that, I also raised all the funds that were used at the congress, but that is neither here nor there, but what we are talking about, is the illegality of that congress, and its proceedings which were not in line with our constitution, and therefore the proceedings were null and void, and the outcome was unlawful.
BZ. But did you raise those concerns prior to the congress Mr. Mutasa?
DM. I didn’t know that it was going to happen like that, I mean you only cross bridges when you come to them. I didn’t know that the conflict was going to be held like that and so there was nothing to complain about, but after the event and we have seen what had transpired, then we can complain, quite rightly.
BZ. But this plot to oust you, Mai Mujuru, Gumbo and others had been simmering for months if not years? When would you say this plot was hatched, were you blindsided, where did these problems begin?
DM. They just came up suddenly; I mean we were all caught by surprise, when the president started to shout about his own deputy, the vice president of the party, being told off publicly by her superior. That has never happened in the history of our country or anywhere else in the world, and so we got very surprised. I personally was shocked.
BZ. Did you talk to him at that time (President Mugabe)?
DM. Well, I also fell ill and left to go to South Africa and later to India, so I didn’t have an opportunity to talk to him during congress, I was out.
BZ. But who exactly was leading the charge to oust you and Mai Mujuru, is it the so-called Gang of 4 or Mnangagwa himself?
DM. I don’t really know, because I was never working with them, but I would assume, that yes it was partly the gang of 4 and partly Mnangagwa himself, because he knew what was going on and at that time he was the secretary for legal affairs, he quite honestly should have advised his fellow colleagues that the course that they were taking, was unlawful.
BZ. The suspensions, expulsions and trading of barbs, how has it affected the ruling Zanu-PF party? Was it necessary?
DM. Well, it’s the suspension of nine provincial chairmen; it is the booting out of a number of members of the politburo, particularly those that had worked within the party for a considerable length of time. It is the total disregard of the law, most important, law of the party that is the constitution, and so we find that as absolutely absurd and something that should never have been done.
BZ. Were there attempts by your group Mr. Mutasa to talk to the first lady, because she is the one who came out guns blazing attacking Joice Mujuru and other members, accusing her of corruption and those other vices?
DM. Well, sometimes you need yes to talk, but when you know that the allegations are totally false, then you do not go and approach the person and say you know I want to talk to you about false accusations the best way forward is just to keep quiet and let them proceed the way they think and then to take the necessary corrective action as we are doing.
BZ: Are you still pursuing your court action, or you are heeding Mr. Mugabe’s call to drop the legal action?
DM. Well, he has not told me that, he has told other people, he has told the public, he has insulted me publicly, and so it’s not very good really for me not to take any action when things are still going on as badly as they started
BZ. But even if the court rules in your favor, with this trading of barbs and bad blood, allegations of plotting to assassinate others, will you still be able to co-exist?
DM. Absolutely yes, we will let bygones be bygones, that is why we are saying this, but yah we are disappointed, and we know also that this is the way of politics, but we would like to sit down and talk frankly to one another, first to tell each other what mistakes we have made, we would want to know exactly what was wrong with Amai Mujuru, what was wrong with me and all those people who were booted out of the politburo and why were the provisions of our constitution, not taken into account when these people were asked to leave. There should have been a disciplinary committee like the one that is being set up for me, it should have been set up for everyone, and that is what we would like to happen and when it has happened and these people are told what was wrong, and then I think we will then sit down and see what to do next, you see, we are being called to a disciplinary committee, to answer allegations, it’s them who have broken the constitution, who have gone outside the dictates of our constitution, who should be sitting before a disciplinary committee and not the other way round.
BZ: Mr. Mutasa are you surprised that even your liberation war credentials are being questioned?
DM. Well, I am not taking it at all seriously, because I know what I was doing during the liberation struggle and I was working side by side with the president, so if the president does not know that I was working with him since 1977, then really there is nothing I can do.
BZ. Thank you Mr. Mutasa for your time.
DM. Most welcome.