EXPELLED former Zanu PF youth secretary for the commissariat Godfrey Tsenengamu feels President Emmerson Mnangagwa has failed to revive the country’s comatose economy.
He argues that the only solution is for Mnangagwa to dialogue with MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa, but believes the two are arrogant and self-centred. The Daily News on Sunday Senior Writer Blessings Mashaya last week caught up with Tsenengamu to discuss this and other pressing issues in the country. Below are the excerpts:
Q: When you were expelled from Zanu PF in March this year, you went on to form the Front for Economic Emancipation in Zimbabwe (Feez). What is it all about?
A: Feez, which is also known as the Green Revolution, is a grassroots anchored, inclusive, non-partisan, radical and militant economic movement of the united citizens of Zimbabwe seeking to confront and eradicate all forms of corruption in Zimbabwe and also ensure the genuine economic emancipation of the people and their communities through equal access to economic opportunities, structured ownership and maximum utilisation of national resources.
Feez is the broader movement that houses two professional units, the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Citizens Taskforce (ZACCT), which we have registered as a trust to deal with corruption issues; and the National Affirmative Action Assembly of Zimbabwe (Naaaz), which deals with poverty eradication and empowerment initiatives of citizens and their communities on behalf of the broader movement.
We are an action-oriented citizen’s movement, by the citizens and for the citizens, providing alternative solutions to our challenges.
Q: It sounds more political, do you have ambitions to transform it into a political party?
A: We have no such intentions. Our focus is economic. For too long we have become a politicking and sloganeering people, paying less attention to economic issues and the bread and butter issues affecting us.
We have paid so much attention to politics of power acquisition, accumulation and protection and not developmental politics. We are an agenda-based economic movement. In any case, we have more than enough political parties.
Q: You have argued for dialogue between President Mnangagwa and MDC Alliance leader Chamisa. Do you still maintain your stance that Mnangagwa and Chamisa must meet?
A: Well, if I had my way I would have wished to see a united Zimbabwe where people work together and disagree with honour.
Our leaders are letting us down as a people as they continue to give each other conditions for dialogue. Feez has come face to face with the realities of our politics on the ground.
We are a divided and polarised people subscribing to toxic politics, which is characterised by hate, vengeance, insults and mistrust.
At one point we will look back with regret as a people and say if only we had grabbed that chance to unite our people.
Zimbabwe now requires leaders more than politicians and leaders are in short supply.
Those supposedly in leadership across the divide continue to want to score against one another and it is very sad and unfortunate.
I believe in unity and oneness. Unity is power. As far as I know, Zanu PF can do without the MDC and the MDC can do without Zanu PF, but Zimbabwe can’t do without all her children.
Unfortunately, our leaders don’t see it that way.
Well, this is my wish since the days I was in Zanu PF as a national commissar of the youth. I am not sure how this will end, but it may be a disaster.
Q: In your view, who and what is stopping the two from meeting and dialoguing on the country’s political crisis?
A: At first I thought it was because of some hardliners in both parties, but now it seems it is just because of the egos and arrogance of the leaders.
They want to continue to score cheap points against the other. I blame both for political grandstanding at one point or the other. They are proving to be selfish and uncaring for the suffering masses.
I thought that they were going to put Zimbabwe first, but it seems their personal and party interests come first before Zimbabweans.
I believe that both may at one point look back with regret at the chance they so abused. It is just a matter of time.
Q: With what is happening in the country, do you think Mnangagwa is fully in charge or is being misled by his lieutenants?
A: Obviously, you are asking me that because you may at one point have believed in ED and thought he would do wonders and to this day you are still in denial that he is failing and now want to apportion blame to another person. This is typical of many across Zimbabwe.
But if we say he is not in charge then that means he is a weak leader and maybe a placeholder; and if that is the case then it means he is unfit for his position.
If we also say that he is being misled by alleged lieutenants, then it also means that he is not what we thought and believed him to be.
How could a whole president be misled when he has all the apparatus at his disposal, think of the intelligence services in the defence, CIO and police. Are they all misleading him?
He has a whole Cabinet, the Presidential Advisory Council, the politburo, central committee and the Political Actors Dialogue, all there to advise him and you still suggest that he is being misled. Why?
We don’t want a repeat of the (late former president Robert) Mugabe scenario where everyone would say the president is right, but those around him are the bad ones, no.
If his lieutenants are misleading him and he doesn’t see that then he does not deserve the position.
Q: Who could be misleading him?
A: I would not want to apportion blame on those without the mandate to lead and govern. He is the president and the chief executive of this country, he must just pull up his socks.
I am of the opinion that he must start listening to advice. Of late many in the corridors have been complaining that he is not a good listener despite what he pretends in public. If he wants other people to work with him and help him achieve, then he must also be ready to take advice.
Q: Given your analysis on the president’s performance, is he then still fit for purpose?
A: The results of whatever he has been doing are not pleasing at all, especially on the economic front. He has the mandate, but fails to deliver. The ball is in his court.
Q: You worked with Mugabe, Grace Mugabe in particular, to remove the Gamatox cabal in Zanu PF. You later worked with ED to fight the G40. Now it seems you are working for the removal of ED, are you part of a third force determined to remove and take over from Mnangagwa.
A: I am not working for the removal of ED. Not in any way. How do I remove him from office? By what means? There is no such thing.
I am a sworn enemy of looting, thievery and corruption. I have no agenda for or against ED.
I am leading an economic movement and not a political party unless you are telling me that calling for transparency and accountability and seeking to establish a prosperous and corrupt free Zimbabwe is an agenda for the removal of ED. I campaigned and voted for ED and I just want him to deliver. Nothing more, nothing less!
Q: In your honest view what are the successes and failures of Mnangagwa since taking over from Mugabe?
A: I wanted him to be better than his predecessor in terms of handling corruption matters, respect for human rights and rule of law, constitutionalism, tribal and regional balance, entrenching democracy, economic management and revival, mass empowerment and the establishment of sound social infrastructure, but so far I have not seen much on the positive.
Q: It appears Mnangagwa is failing to deal with corruption, what do you see as the reasons behind this?
A: I think there is a lack of genuine political will to deal with corruption decisively. ED seems not ready to confront this evil and I wonder why he is not able to.
I always ask myself why, but can’t get the answer. It may also be because the majority of those in leadership are involved in one way or the other and it becomes difficult to deal with the mess since they are now compromised as top leadership.
It also seems that it is true as was suggested by the prosecutor general that the majority of the State institutions responsible for fighting this vice are also under capture, including the Zanu PF party itself.
Most of our leaders are greedy opportunists who have no care for the people and future of this country. Leaders have turned themselves into looters.
When ED came up with the Special Anti-Corruption Unit in his office I thought much was going to come out of it, but so far there is not much to show if anything.
Q: Is Zanu PF sincere on tackling graft?
A: The generality of the membership want corruption to be dealt with and crushed ruthlessly as it is affecting them all the time, but the top leadership for one reason or the other is not ready.
When we named and shamed corrupt individuals in June/July 2019, the politburo constituted a commission of inquiry which never saw the light of day nor convened a single meeting.
This proves the insincerity of those in leadership. You may recall that when we mentioned (names supplied) the party leadership quickly reacted and that exposes the calibre of those in leadership and what they stand for. Unfortunately the general member in the party is at the receiving end.