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We gave Mugabe free rein: Gumbo

Owen Gagare

FORMER Zanu PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo, who was expelled from the party just before its recent sixth congress, says he and other senior party officials hounded out of the party are partly to blame for their misfortune as they allowed President Robert Mugabe to dictate the pace of events and direction of the party without a challenge.
Gumbo, who said Zanu PF had emerged from the congress weaker following the purging of senior officials, including former Vice-President Joice Mujuru, however said he had no regrets over his expulsion.
He was expelled by the party’s most powerful organ outside congress, the central committee, on allegations of throwing Zanu PF into disrepute after he continued criticising Mugabe following his five-year suspension last month.
He was suspended after being accused of being part of a plot to assassinate Mugabe alongside other senior officials sympathetic to Mujuru such as secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa and politburo member Nicholas Goche. Gumbo was also accused of speaking on behalf of the Mujuru faction and advancing his own agenda rather than presenting the party’s position. “We have to accept blame for what is happening,” he said.
“We have been too quiet for too long. We were hoping that there would be an improvement; that the party would be rejuvenated but that has not happened even after the congress.”
Gumbo said he would remain loyal to the revolution and not necessarily Zanu PF leaders and would thus continue speaking his mind.
“How can I be a loyal to Zanu PF leaders when I have been thrown out?” he said, when asked if he remains committed to the party and its leadership.
“I am loyal to the revolution. I will speak about what is unjust and undesirable in the society. I am not quitting politics.
“I consider what has happened to be part of a circus or mahumbwe (child’s play) because serious leaders don’t behave in such a manner.”
Gumbo said although he was thrown out of the party on the basis of “outright lies”, he was not bitter but gobsmacked.
He said he would watch events in Zanu PF from the terraces while taking time to reflect on what has been transpiring.
Gumbo said after the congress he hoped Mugabe and his supporters’ energy would be channelled towards reviving the economy which he said had been negatively affected by the long-drawn succession battle in Zanu PF. “The main issue is the economy. It is the heaviest casualty of the infighting. Companies are closing and retrenching, there is a severe liquidity crunch, people have no money,” he said.
“We needed to concentrate our energy on that and that’s what still needs to be done.”
After congress Mugabe dismissed Mujuru and eight ministers deemed loyal to her.
The casualties were Didymus Mutasa (presidential affairs), Webster Shamu (ICT), Nicolas Goche (labour), Dzikamai Mavhaire and his deputy Munacho Mutezo (energy), Olivia Muchena (higher education), Francis Nhema (indigenisation) and Simbaneuta Mudarikwa (Provincial Affairs for Mashonaland East).
Indications are that Mugabe will reshuffle his cabinet again in January where he is likely to drop more ministers aligned to Mujuru.

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