EXPELLED former Zanu PF secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa says he confronted President Robert Mugabe more than three times ahead of the party’s last December congress questioning his wife Grace’s motive in attacking then vice-president Joice Mujuru.
In an interview with the Zimbabwe Independent this week, Mutasa said he tackled Mugabe demanding an explanation on Grace’s vicious public attacks which eventually led to the expulsion of several party bigwigs, including Mujuru, on allegations of plotting to oust or assassinate the ageing leader.
“I confronted Mugabe more than three times and he denied that he was involved in the plot to oust Mujuru and a number of senior officials,” Mutasa said.
Mujuru’s ouster was sealed after she was subjected to a venomous and sustained public attacks by Grace and her supporters, who accused her — without providing evidence — of, among other things, plotting to oust and assassinate Mugabe, abuse of office, corruption, extorting shares from private companies and investors, demanding 10% bribes and illicit dealings in diamonds and gold.
“At one time the politburo meeting was delayed for two hours while I was with him in his office where he actually failed to explain and exonerate himself from what happened in the party days before and after the illegal congress,” he said.
Mutasa also said at one time he asked Mugabe who had the capacity to succeed him.
“In one meeting Mugabe asked me who I thought was suitable to succeed him between Mujuru and Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa. I told him that was not for him to decide.
“I told him we had to put that to the people and allow them to choose who they wanted to be their leader. It was in this meeting that we agreed the December congress had to be decisively an elective one.
“So we informed the politburo members that the congress was to be an elective one where members would vote secretly in order to choose the new leadership of the party. After a month or two Mugabe, working in cahoots with the Mnangagwa faction, then changed the goalposts and started pushing for the constitutional amendments that gave him powers to appoint his deputies and politburo members.”
Mutasa also said it was during this time that Grace stepped in to push Mugabe into eliminating Mujuru for factional and personal reasons.
“When I told him to stop his wife from attacking his fellow comrades Mugabe said it was a women’s issue and that it had no impact on the political future or his relations with Mujuru.
“Although Mugabe seemed not to take this seriously, we knew he was under pressure from his wife and those who wanted to assume influential positions.”
Mugabe told the Zanu PF congress that his wife went too far as they did not anticipate or want things to end up in that ugly way.