SENIOR STAFF WRITER
FORMER Cabinet minister and liberation struggle stalwart, Rugare Gumbo, fears that President Emmerson Mnangagwa is being sabotaged by his senior Zanu PF colleagues as he toils to fix the country’s myriad challenges.
Gumbo — who was controversially fired from the ruling party in the run-up to Zanu PF’s sham 2014 congress at the height of its factional, tribal and succession wars — reiterated in an interview with the Daily News at the weekend that dialogue was the best way out for crisis-ridden Zimbabwe.
At the same time, expelled former Zanu PF youth leader Godfrey Tsenengamu also agreed that Mnangagwa was being sabotaged — adding that he now needed to go back to the drawing board and to come up with a “winning” Cabinet line-up made up of ministers who understood and supported his vision for the country.
All this comes as Zimbabwe is experiencing its worst economic crisis in a decade, which has triggered anger and anxiety among long-suffering ordinary people.
Amid the widening fissures in the ruling party, Gumbo told the Daily News yesterday that Mnangagwa was likely being sabotaged within Zanu PF as he battles Zimbabwe’s deepening political and economic crises.
“He (Mnangagwa) must be aware of being sabotaged from within, and I think this is now clearly happening in Zanu PF.
“In politics, those things happen. But the president must be a visionary leader with good strategies to be able to deal with all these problems.
“As I also always say, dialogue is the only way forward for this country. The 2023 elections are very far because people are suffering. You cannot solve these problems through propaganda,” the forthright Gumbo said.
“The country is for everyone, from trade unions to churches and other stakeholders. People just need to sit down and talk.
“We went to war to make sure that all Zimbabweans have a good life and that they are happy all the time. It is important for Zanu PF to implement political and economic reforms.
“They must do this not for themselves, but for the good of the country. The future of the party will not be good if they fail to implement the much needed reforms,” the fearless Gumbo added.
The liberation war icon was sent packing from Zanu PF in 2014, together with the party’s then secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa and former vice president Joice Mujuru, at the height of the party’s deadly factional, tribal and succession wars — on untested allegations of wanting to topple the late former president Robert Mugabe from power.
Recently, Zanu PF invited Gumbo for re-admission into the former liberation movement which he helped to form with the likes of Ndabaningi Sithole and Enos Nkala, who are all late.
Gumbo is also the only surviving member of the liberation war council that was known as Dare reChimurenga.
Meanwhile, Tsenengamu also told the Daily News yesterday that Mnangagwa was being sabotaged from inside Zanu PF — which demanded that he re-strategised his political trajectory.
“He is being sabotaged by his own comrades who are bitter for various reasons and also from remnants of the old dispensation.
“But his biggest challenge has been that of surrounding himself with people who have no appreciation of his vision.
“He picked people from nowhere and entrusted them with key positions, and these people are letting him down,” Tsenengamu told the Daily News.
“The other challenge is that he surrounded himself with people who can’t tell him the truth, and this is working against him.
“The majority of the people who rushed to surround him are nothing but mere opportunists and extortionists who are busy lining their pockets and doing everything possible to tarnish his name,” Tsenengamu also let rip.
“It is important that the president lays the foundation for a better society in which he will be able to live even after his time as president.
“In whatever he is doing today, he must think about tomorrow,” he told the Daily News further.
Since his expulsion from Zanu PF over allegations of corruption that he made against some of the ruling party’s bigwigs, Tsenengamu has become an arch critic of Mnangagwa and his government.
He was among several opposition and pro-democracy activists who were mobilising for the July 31 anti-government protests, which they said were necessary to expose rampant public sector corruption.
Yesterday, Tsenengamu also reminded Mnangagwa how he had been cut loose by Mugabe and ended up fleeing the country fearing for his life.
“The laws and systems he (Mnangagwa) is putting in place must not only be good for him when he is in power.
“I think he must quickly appreciate this just as he experienced the same in 2017 when the whole Mugabe system went against him and he had to run away from Zimbabwe and seek refuge in a foreign land.
“Mugabe died a bitter man because the system he used for 37 years to harass others turned against him and he had to vote against it.
“The same way he (Mnangagwa) wants to be treated tomorrow when he leaves office is how he must treat others today,” Tsenengamu also told the Daily News.
After his dramatic fall from power in November 2017, on the back of a popular military coup, Mugabe and his erratic wife Grace did not hide their bitterness with Mnangagwa and Zanu PF.
On the eve of the 2018 national elections, the late strongman threw the cat among the pigeons when he publicly endorsed MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa to lead Zimbabwe — before telling the nation that he would never vote for Mnangagwa and Zanu PF.
Mugabe resigned from office in November 2017, a few hours after Parliament had initiated proceedings to impeach him — after he had refused to leave office during eight tense days that began with the military intervening in the governance of the country.
The operation also saw him and Grace being placed under house arrest, while several Cabinet ministers linked to Zanu PF’s Generation 40 faction — which had coalesced around the Mugabes — were also targeted.
The annihilated G40 was, before the military intervention, locked in a bitter war with Mnangagwa and his supporters for control of both Zanu PF and the country.