Allegations that Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe is fighting for his political survival within his ruling Zanu-PF Party, were validated Thursday, when the 93-year-old leader, took the opportunity at a state burial, to put his detractors on notice.
Using biblical references as he did during the 72nd United Nations General Assembly last week, President Mugabe spoke of traitors within his inner circle, who are plotting against him.
“There are some like those Jesus spoke about at the last supper, that those we eat with, they are the ones 'who will betray me'. The likes of Judas Iscariot are among us. So, those ones, let us expose them and embarrass them. Others want to see a change of government, one that will bring in new leadership, saying the president should leave his seat.”
With the crowd cheering him on, President Mugabe, who was officiating over the burial of Mrs. Maria Msika, the wife of former late Vice President Joseph Msika, at the National Heroes Acre in Harare, told his nameless detractors that he has the political mandate to lead, and it will be the Zimbabwean people who will change that.
IT’S THE PEOPLE’S SEAT
“I was given this seat (position) by the people, it’s the people’s seat, and I don’t want with my seat …When the day comes (to step down) I will say thank you to all the people of Zimbabwe. This seat, you will be the ones to choose who you want to seat on it. But for today, I’m staying put.”
Independent Member of Parliament for Norton, Temba Mliswa, a former Zanu-PF member and a former provincial chair of Mashonaland West Province, acknowledged that President Mugabe was duly elected, and that anyone trying to remove him from office should set their eyes on the 2018 elections.
Mliswa said, “So what is important is what is after 2018, what is happening between 2013 and 2018, for the country to advance. That’s what we’ll be looking at. How is the economy doing, do the youth have jobs – is what Zanu-PF promised being done? Those are the issues we should be approaching the President about, informing him that certain things are not being done, corruption is still rampant, but no one is being arrested.
RESPECT WILL OF THE PEOPLE
“So let us look at a situation, that while he is in office, what he said would be done, it is being done. I think to me that is what is important. And whoever wants to take over, must then wait for 2018, and wait for the elections to take place. And if they are running, that’s OK, that’s what elections are about. So democracy also pushes for people to respect someone’s vote, until 2018. But for now, one should evaluate whether the work promised is being carried out well, are people progressing, was what was promised, delivered.”
Allegations of factionalism in the once unified and stable Zanu-PF party, have escalated over the past months, and have seen senior party members like former Vice President Joice Mujuru, together with her supporters, dismissed for corruption and plotting to overthrow President Mugabe.
While President Mugabe did not mention names, many believe his eye is on yet another of his Vice Presidents, Emmerson Mnangagwa, who is said to lead a faction called Team Lacoste, that is gearing to take Mugabe’s place. First lady Grace Mugabe is also accused of heading a faction called G40 or Generation 40, that is also positioning itself to take over from President Mugabe.
Still at the burial, President Mugabe also addressed the growing food, fuel and cash shortages in the country, which he said is the work of detractors trying to destabilize the country. Shortage of the quasi-currency Bond notes, as well as the U.S. dollar, have given rise to illicit black market, resulting in the further scarcity of both.
“There are those who are eager to manipulate the currency. There are those who want to mess up gifts from God. Those who want to play with our money, manipulating the currency so that they can trigger inflation, cause panic buying, those are the shenanigans in our midst.”
The government has promised a crackdown on anyone found to be hoarding food, cash or other supplies that have created shortages, as seen during the period of hyperinflation, in 2008.