RECENT remarks by Zanu PF national commissar Saviour Kasukuwere that discussing President Robert Mugabe’s successor before his term of office ends in 2018 is “treasonous” are laughable.
Candid Comment Faith Zaba
“President Mugabe’s term of office runs until 2018 and any talks or discussions questioning his term of office border on treason,” he told Zanu PF supporters in Dotito in Mashonaland Central province over the weekend.
While Kasukuwere is entitled to defend his party leader and principal, who gave him his ministerial job and perks he survives on, he does not need to go to preposterous lengths in doing so.
His remarks, likening succession talk to treason, are not only ludicrous, but reflect the bigger problem in Zanu PF, which is lack of internal democracy. In any civilised country, talking of succession is not only necessary, but is a democratic right of citizens and even party members.
At law, treason is a crime that covers some of the more extreme acts against one’s nation or sovereign. It is the offence of acting to overthrow one’s government or to harm or kill its sovereignty.
So how does it become treasonous to discuss who should succeed or aspire to replace a leader, who is 92 years old, visibly frail, hence frequently flies to the Far East for treatment as ill-health takes its toll? It is not an offence at all, let alone treasonous.
Zanu PF has come to what it is today because of lack of independent voices inside the party. A personality cult around Mugabe was built because party members always tell him what he wants to hear, not what he needs to hear. This continues to reinforce the personality cult of a leader that has continued to destroy his own party and country to such an extent that it borders on madness to support Mugabe’s bid to rule for life.
Cheering on a leader while he is destroying his own party and his nation, threatening not only the country’s economic interests, but also the livelihoods of its citizens, is much closer to treason than discussing who his successor is likely to be.
What Mugabe needs now are people who tell him the truth so that he steps down and stops further destroying the country’s economy. Kasukuwere is saying this to endear himself and his Generation 40 faction to Mugabe at the expense of Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa. With all due respect, Kasukuwere’s comments on treason, however, are at best ignorant and at worst, daft. The trouble is that these two factions battling to replace Mugabe are not fighting on the basis of ideological or policy issues, but on personalities. They are locked in a mortal battle, not to serve the party or the nation, but to save Mugabe for their own ends. They want to be seen as being the closest to him in order to curry favour with him and hopefully get the reins of power.
It is all about fighting to be close to Mugabe than everyone else — nothing else. They should be fighting instead to serve their party, nation and people, not to please Mugabe, because he is the problem. Everyone knows it and they know it too.