The Sunday News
MDC Alliance presidential candidate Mr Nelson Chamisa and former First Lady Mrs Grace Mugabe have become strange bedfellows as they have entered into a pact that will see the latter getting the Vice President’s post in the event that the opposition party wins the July 30 elections.
Mrs Mugabe is reportedly the brains behind the National Patriotic Front (NPF) political project which has been dogged by leadership problems since its formation. In an interview with Voice of America (VOA) Zimbabwe on Friday last week, NPF women’s league chairperson Mrs Sarah Mahoka let the cat out of the bag indicating that the fledgling political formation has decided to support Mr Chamisa in return for the Vice-President’s post.
“Bato redu arikuritungamirira izvozvi iyezvinho hatina president kuNPF. President wedu isusu ndi (Nelson) Chamisa. Chamisa ndiye achapinda pahu-president, isusu tinotora hu-deputy,” said Mrs Mahoka.
“Isusu takatobatana neAlliance because tinoda kubvisa junta yakabvisa baba vaMugabe, vachiti baba vaMugabe vakura,” she added.
Spokesperson of the NPF faction that is presently being fronted by interim president Ms Eunice Sandi-Moyo — who took over after the recent purported ouster of Brigadier-General Ambrose Mutinhiri on June 8 — corroborated Mrs Mahoko’s position, saying the senior party member was speaking from an “informed position”.
“Cde Sarah Mahoka is a senior member of the party and she was speaking from an informed position. She was very accurate in her statement because it is a fact that our party is supporting Mr Nelson Chamisa to be President. That is definite. She was also talking about the negotiations that we are having with the MDC Alliance where we have submitted our request that one of our members should be the Vice-President,” said Mr Jealousy Mawarire.
He was, however, evasive on who was likely to assume the envisaged Vice-President’s post.
“The party will choose the person. We have our own mechanisms as a party to choose the candidate. The Vice-President will come from the people who support our party. I cannot pre-empt the name of that candidate. As it stands, the former First Lady is not an active member of NPF and she is not in the running . . . ” he said.
NPF senior members who are privy to the goings-on in the five-month old party say the interim leader, Ms Sandi-Moyo, is a proxy of Ms Mugabe, who intends to use her as a Trojan Horse to assume the levers of part. It is believed that as the July 30 plebiscite draws near, Mrs Mugabe is becomingly increasingly anxious as she intends to protect her sprawling business empire.
Government recently opened up Mazowe Dam, which the former First Lady allegedly sought to cordon off from villagers in order to support one of her farms. Mr Chamisa’ spokesperson Dr Nkululeko Sibanda yesterday said the MDC Alliance’s presidential candidate does not announce appointments through anyone but his office.
“We embrace anyone who wants to campaign for president Chamisa. The truth of the matter is that all those who are supporting Mr Chamisa are running with the winning horse because they know that he is going to win this election. President Nelson Chamisa does not announce appointments through anyone but his office, this information you are referring to is not from his office,” said Dr Sibanda.
Those familiar with the goings on behind the scenes say the former First Family has a haul of 21 farms, local and foreign investments, including claims of Black Granite in Mutoko.
“There is an issue of farms that they (Mugabes) have been leasing to whites. Here was a President who was preaching one-person, one-farm, but who has 21 farms. But a good number which was being leased to white farmers. And he knows that the new Government will have to want to choose one out of the 21,” a senior Government official, who cannot be named for professional reasons, said recently.
“But some of his investments, including the dairy and the children’s project, were benefiting from a blurred accounting system between those business propositions and State coffers. Now, they are worried that unless they recapture State power, all those projects will crumble.”
It is also understood that the former First Family has been frenziedly looking for a proxy to front their political interests. They initially shopped around for Dr Joice Mujuru, who met former President Robert Mugabe on January 30 this year, and after unsuccessfully trying to rope her in their pet political project, they then sounded Dr Thokozani Khupe.
They subsequently settled for Brig-Gen Mutinhiri to mind the project, but he was allegedly expelled on June 8 for being “intransigent”. An attempt to include Mr Savior Kasuwere, who was one of the kingpins in the G40 faction, came to naught, including a desperate bid to conscript lawyer Mr Farai Mutamangira.
As a last-ditch effort, they have decided to throw in their lot with Mr Chamisa, whom they believe can derail the new political administration. Mr Chamisa, who is now largely being viewed as power hungry and overly ambitious by some of the MDC Alliance principals, is believed to be hesitating to grab the opportunity, but seems to have settled to making a gentleman’s pact with the Mugabes. But there are fears within the MDC Alliance camp that broaching the subject with their supporters will ultimately squander their reportedly diminishing political capital.