SUSPENDED Zanu PF youth league kingpin, Godfrey Tsenengamu, warned opposition leader Nelson Chamisa, pictured, last week to beware of being used by hardliners in both the ruling party and his MDC as he fights to get into power, the Daily News reports.
This comes as Zanu PF and MDC hawks are said to be frustrating all local and external efforts aimed at fostering dialogue between Mnangagwa and Chamisa, despite both men having separately expressed their willingness to engage in talks.
It also comes as former South African President Thabo Mbeki — who was in Zimbabwe in December last year to try and nudge the two rivals to set aside their long running feud — is said to be waiting for a signal from Harare to return to the country to continue with his valiant efforts to end their dispute.
“There are hardliners in Zanu PF, who are afraid that if Mnangagwa sits down with Chamisa, they are finished.
“There are also hardliners in the MDC who are afraid that if Chamisa sits down with Mnangagwa they are also finished.
“There are people who are saying to Chamisa, ‘let’s get into the streets’, but Chamisa learnt in 2017 that you might get into the streets but fail to get any rewards for that,” Tsenengamu said.
“After marching and all that, you are told this is what the Constitution says, and as constitutionalists and democrats you have to follow the Constitution. So, that route does not bring any results.
“Those who want to see this situation degenerate want to use MDC as a front to organise mass protests, but knowing very well that there will be nothing for the MDC after that.
“It’s like assisting me to kill my brother and then you eat cabbages and beef at the funeral, but when his estate is distributed you don’t get anything because you are not part of the family,” Tsenengamu added while addressing journalists in Harare last Friday.
“So, Zimbabweans must be wary of being used, because you will go into the streets but will not be in charge of the process to replace those whom you are pushing out,” he said further.
Chamisa and other MDC leaders were among the hundreds of thousands of people who poured onto the streets of Harare and other urban areas in November 2017 to march against the late former president Robert Mugabe — whose long and ruinous tenure in power was dramatically brought to an end by a military coup.
However, the MDC — which was still led by its late founding father Morgan Tsvangirai at the time — was not included in the post-coup Cabinet which was packed by the old Zanu PF guard.
At the same time, outspoken former Cabinet minister and chairperson of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA), Christopher Mutsvangwa, claimed that Chamisa walked away from an agreed political deal after Tsvangirai died, after he was supposedly “seduced” by Zanu PF’s vanquished Generation 40 (G40) faction.
Mutsvangwa said the G40 faction’s interest in scuppering the agreement that Zanu PF and the MDC had at the time was its “vain obsession” with toppling Mnangagwa from power through an internal ruling party revolt — following the stunning removal from power of Mugabe.
“As momentum was being marshalled to thwart a G40 coup taking over after Mugabe, the war veterans’ leadership and other like-minded people in Zanu PF reached out to the MDC, as they built a broad-based coalition.
“We held meetings at a Fourways hotel in Johannesburg with Morgan Tsvangirai, and the ex-prime minister was most impressed with the unifying initiative.
“Unfortunately, his health failed as the fateful transition rolled out in 2017. The sad tragedy for Zimbabwe is that an emboldened Chamisa threw his lot into pursuing a coup within Zanu PF,” Mutsvangwa told the Daily News last year.
“He opted for a conspiracy with … a Member of Parliament and other motley political adventurers. This ill-fated initiative was clandestinely hinged on the purported military stranglehold of a coterie of ambitious military figures.
“The series of tragic events in August 2018 (killings of civilians by soldiers), January 2019 (more deaths following a fuel riot) and the failed August 2019 stay-away all have their roots in this shadowy civilian-military link,” he added.
On his part, and while confirming that there had indeed been a deal between Mnangagwa and Tsvangirai, Chamisa blamed Zanu PF for “pulling a fast one” on the late opposition leader, as well as the late liberation icon Dumiso Dabengwa.
He said the plan was to have Mnangagwa lead a transitional authority tasked with enacting critical political reforms for about two years, before elections would be held — with Tsvangirai and Dabengwa as his deputies.
“What Mutsvangwa and Mnangagwa did … to my old man was not right. They know what they did. They backtracked. Tsvangirai died a very, very unhappy man.
“The problem was that they (Zanu PF bigwigs) were playing a game, and were singling out some people they said had capacity in MDC … singling out myself, (Eddie) Cross, (Tapiwa) Mashakada and others,” he added.
“There are two people that died very bitter … It’s something that I know, DD (Dumiso) and MT (Tsvangirai). They were cheated and deceived.
“We mobilised people during that coup, and we were clear that mudhara Mugabe ngaazorore, toita new dispensation, you know.
“We do reforms, then elections ozoitwa pava paya, tambo dzingirirana nema reforms (We wanted Mugabe out and were hopeful of change after the coup),” Chamisa added.
Tsenengamu said on Friday that it was important for Mnangagwa and Chamisa to hold dialogue, as the country’s worsening economic crisis was stirring both anger and restlessness among long-suffering ordinary people.
“When Mugabe and Tsvangirai were still around, Chamisa was touted as Mnangagwa’s sympathiser.
“When Mnangagwa was being attacked in Parliament, Chamisa would occasionally come to Mnangagwa’s rescue.
“Those in the MDC would say he is Mnangagwa’s sympathiser. I now want to ask these two leaders, what is stopping them from meeting?” Tsenengamu asked.
“At Vimbayi’s (Tsvangirai’s daughter’s) funeral, I am told by those who were there that our honourable First Lady Amai (Auxillia) Mnangagwa had time to discuss with Chamisa for some good five minutes without any of their security teams.
“What is the problem between the two that they do not want to meet? Does this need Zimbabweans to demonstrate in the streets to push for the two to meet?
“I am not calling for a GNU (government of national unity), neither am I against the formation of a GNU, but I know that when they sit together they will find a solution, whichever way,” Tsenengamu added.