Nduduzo Tshuma , Political Editor
“If you want to find me guilty of not attending the First Lady’s rallies, I plead guilty on that one and I won’t attend unless the programme changes. I can’t attend a function where they say ‘Pamberi ne Mazoe Crush, pasi ne Gamatox’.
That slogan is unknown in Zanu-PF. That slogan is divisive and counter-revolutionary. I don’t belong to a venomous group and until their objectives change, I won’t be part of that. With its nature now, it’s counter-revolutionary and Zimbabweans should stand up against that”
ZANU-PF last week resolved to readmit two of its expelled sons Cdes Jabulani Sibanda and Didymus Mutasa back into the fold as many former cadres who left for various reasons are making efforts to rejoin the party.
Both Cdes Mutasa and Sibanda were expelled from the party in 2014 during the days of the “Gamatox” where the then deputy to former President Mr Robert Mugabe, Dr Joice Mujuru, was accused of plotting to topple the now former Head of State.
Cde Mutasa was expelled over allegations of colluding with Dr Mujuru.
On his part, Cde Sibanda fell foul with the former President in October 2014 when the former Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association chairperson said he would not attend former First Lady Grace Mugabe’s “Meet the People” rallies as long as she kept attacking senior party leadership.
He said real war veterans would resist a bedroom coup that was unfolding as Mrs Mugabe was gaining too much power in both government and party.
“If you want to find me guilty of not attending the First Lady’s rallies, I plead guilty on that one and I won’t attend unless the programme changes. I can’t attend a function where they say ‘Pamberi ne Mazoe Crush, pasi ne Gamatox’. That slogan is unknown in Zanu-PF.
“That slogan is divisive and counter-revolutionary. I don’t belong to a venomous group and until their objectives change, I won’t be part of that. With its nature now, it’s counter-revolutionary and Zimbabweans should stand up against that,” said Cde Sibanda in an interview with one of the local publications.
“All able-bodied people should stand up against that. You can’t belong to a group that insults a Vice-President of the country. You can’t insult a person like that even if you are from different political parties, but you can encounter on policies.”
What was critical in Cde Sibanda’s argument at the time was not necessarily his defence of Dr Mujuru who was being accused of harbouring ambitions and plotting to topple Mr Mugabe but his condemnation of a developing culture at the time of attacking and denigrating party leadership at public gatherings.
This was a culture that was to rear its ugly head again after the sacking of Dr Mujuru and targeted on her successor Cde Emmerson Mnangagwa by Mrs Mugabe and members of the G40 cabal.
After the sacking of Dr Mujuru, the then First Lady and her colleagues started targeting youth chairpersons who differed with them in their plot of doing to Cde Mnangagwa what they had done to Dr Mujuru and all of them paid the ultimate price of expulsion from Zanu-PF.
This was followed by tampering of party structures as the purge continued on those that did not see things the G40 way resulting in a number of suspensions and expulsions with replacements made by form of imposition and basis of appointment of factional allegiance.
What Cde Sibanda protested against in 2014 emerged again in the 2017 Presidential Interface Rallies where Cde Mnangagwa was the target of attacks by the former First Lady, her husband and G40 associates.
The attacks continued until the Bulawayo leg of the interface where party youths erupted in protest against Mrs Mugabe’s continued attacks on Cde Mnangagwa. The protests set off a chain of events that led to the resignation of Mr Mugabe and the ushering in of a new dispensation led by President Mnangagwa who went on to win the July 2018 Presidential elections, giving birth to the Second Republic.
In the spirit of the new dispensation, President Mnangagwa said that all those party members who were hounded out of Zanu-PF during the purges were re-admitted to build a bigger and stronger organisation.
This was in line with his argument that Zanu-PF is a big organisation that can’t be owned by anyone but big enough to accommodate everyone.
It is in that spirit that the party is reconnecting with its revolutionary sons and daughters who have expressed willingness to rejoin the revolutionary party.
The party has said that it is still processing a number of applications by former members who want to come back to their political home.
It is the readmission of the likes of Cde Sibanda and other loyal party members hounded out of the party in the past administration for selfish reasons that completes the reconnection of the party with its cadres.
Party secretary of administration Dr Obert Mpofu recently said the party had stabilised and would embark on a restructuring exercise to strengthen the party post G40 chaos.
“Our structures had been disturbed by the G40 elements; we cannot operate with some skeletal structures, and we need our structures to conform to the President’s call to develop our country and the economy, and that can be easily achieved with support from a well-oiled Zanu-PF machinery, which is united.
“Some positions within the party, where we feel restructuring is needed, fresh elections, especially at provincial, district, branch and cell levels, we will do so,” said Dr Mpofu.
“We have of course gone through the elections, where we won with a comfortable majority. We are now in a position to reorganise the party, hence the decision by His Excellency, the President, to have full-time members of the Politburo stationed at the party’s headquarters.”
Dr Mpofu said the party was also coming up with a think-tank of technical personnel, people with expertise relevant to the party’s requirements with a research and development department under his office.
He said the President has opened doors for all those who want to associate themselves with the party.
“These are people who left the party for various reasons and also those who want to join Zanu-PF for the first time. We are allowing members from other parties to join us and we have received overwhelming responses from very senior members of other parties, very senior members who had left the party for one reason or the other, they are all eager to join the party,” said Dr Mpofu.
“Our party cards are selling like hot cakes because of this demand and we are saying people are free to join Zanu-PF, people are free to come back home and continue their political careers within the revolutionary party.”
In the absence of a constructive opposition, with the current one stuck in the illusion that they are legitimate leaders of the country, it is the duty of Zanu-PF to stick to its founding principles and stand as a guide to the Government in delivering the aspirations of the people.
Institutions like the Herbert Chitepo School of Ideology should also be fully utilised to inculcate especially to the youths, the party’s values and principles to ensure that the future leaders are guided by the vision of the founding fathers of the country.