Home » Governance » ’Life Outside Zanu-PF Cold’

On his return from political wilderness just before the 2008 harmonised elections, Information minister Jonathan Moyo summed up how difficult life was outside Zanu PF: “It’s cold out there”.

Moyo, who was sacked during his first tenure as the information minister after the ill-fated Tsholotsho meeting held in Matabeleland North, provided the world with a sneak-peak into the “warmth” that Zanu PF provides to those inside it.

BY staff reporter

From June last year, the ruling party has been going through a political turmoil that has seen factional fighting boil over, shaking Zanu PF to its core and literally splitting it into two distinct factions.

Among those that have fallen by the way-side are former Vice-President Joice Mujuru, secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa, spokesperson Rugare Gumbo and the then seemingly untouchable war weterans leader Jabulani Sibanda.

Mujuru and Mutasa had not known life outside government and Zanu PF for the better part of the last 40 years and they now have to contend with buying for themselves necessities such as fuel along with their comrades as they have been chucked out of the gravy train.

Gumbo, who is now People First’s spokesperson, said while he used to get allowances from Zanu PF and still “lives within my means”, there are colleagues in the ruling party who would struggle to survive outside it.

“We would get allowances and obviously those have dried up, I struggle like any other Zimbabwean in our situation. I am, however, aware of colleagues who would struggle to survive outside party structures because they benefitted from the patronage system,” said Gumbo.

Asked if he regretted his expulsion and his support for Mujuru ahead of the party’s December congress that resulted in the brutal purges that claimed him and many others, Gumbo was steadfast. “There is no going back we have a conviction, we did nothing wrong except to defend the ideals of the revolution. For people like me who benefitted very little from the system, I had nothing to lose,” Gumbo said.

“Zimbabwe needs a new direction. As was the case when we left the country to fight for political independence, some people will have to make sacrifices, including the comfort of a ruling party position. We cannot go back to the intimidation and violence that has become the hallmark of the ruling party.”

Former Central Committee member and ex-Bikita West MP Claudius Makova — a career soldier — said for him, expulsion or not, life goes on.

“I was not employed by Zanu PF. I was not a crook. I actually assisted the party. However, I am what I am because of the party and the projects that I had started will not be abandoned,” Makova said.

“When we fought during the war, we used to call ourselves the fish while the people were the water and that dictum has never left us. For me, nothing has changed fundamentally because I did not rely on the party’s benevolence.”

Deposed Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans’ Association leader Jabulani Sibanda also said he was never an employee of Zanu PF.

“I am still as poor as any war veteran that you will find in the rural areas. I was a volunteer and people must understand that Zanu PF yakandidzingirira [chased me out] rather than fire me,” Sibanda said.

“I was expelled in 2004, but appealed to the national disciplinary committee, the Central Committee as well as congress and all these institutions never sat down to hear my case until the latest purported expulsion.”

He said there were no opportunities created by the war veterans’ body for individuals like him.

“That is why we had to work hard to establish a funeral policy to make sure former fighters got a decent burial. Government has failed to pay school fees and last month’s pension only came this month,” he said.

Sibanda reportedly spent years in different provinces “terrorising villagers” and warning them against voting any party that wasn’t Zanu PF.

Jim Kunaka — a former Harare City council employee, who turned into an untouchable youth League leader — admitted to using his position to his aantage.

“When we got those positions, it was not intended that we would die with them. I can still work elsewhere and get the same position, or an even higher one, just like people in employment do,” Kunaka said.

“Zanu PF did not give people money, but created opportunities that those in power should use for their benefit. I worked very hard for everything that I have now, but some people were used and now they are being dumped.”

He added: “Nothing has changed. I only fear God because he is the one who can decide to end my life. One has to take aantage of their situation and, yes, I did, but worked for all I have”.

A former Cabinet minister who declined to be named said, “Please leave me to settle down, let those who want to talk do so because we do not carry equal political weight.”

A majority of those kicked out have remained tight-lipped, possibly for fear of victimisation as their business interests are intricately tied to Zanu PF’s patronage system.

Source : Zimbabwe Standard