By Anna Chibamu
MDC spokesperson Jacob Mafume says Vice President Constantino Chiwenga’s weekend vows opposition leader Nelson Chamisa would never rule Zimbabwe at the expense of President Emmerson Mnangagwa were signs of the VP’s own ambitions to dislodge his boss from the lofty job.
Addressing Zanu PF followers during President Mnangagwa’s “thank you” rally in Zvimba on Saturday, Chiwenga savaged Chamisa, describing the Apostolic Faith Mission pastor as a false prophet and a “little bishop”.
“In all the coming elections, no one is going to remove Shumba Murambwi (President Mnangagwa),” he said.
“We are here until he feels it is the time to go and when we have fully restored our country to its former glory and when everything is in order. No one must dream of being the President.”
Chiwenga added, “Politics of child’s play will not help us in any way. Shumba Murambwi is there to stay because he is an anointed one from the King.
“Never ever dream that after so and so years it will be your time, there is no vacancy, there is nowhere to get in. Listen and listen very carefully.
“To those who were howling in these last days, keep quiet and keep quiet forever. We want to build a strong Zimbabwe that can move forward. There is nothing he has done wrong, the son from the Shumba clan.”
Chamisa, who claims the incumbent robbed him of his victory during the 2018 elections, has called for nationwide demonstrations to force Mnangagwa to step down.
Reacting to the VP’s comments, Mafume felt the flattering comments by Chiwenga could be an attempt to hoodwink Mnangagwa into believing he had the President’s back, when in fact, the VP harboured ambitions to take his job.
“If I were Mnangagwa, I would be very afraid. The last time Mugabe was told that by Chiwenga, he was removed from office in a few months,” Mafume said of the former military boss who led the November 2017 coup against the now former President Robert Mugabe.
He added, “Every time someone says you will never leave your post, you must know that you will leave that post faster than the person finishing that sentence.
“We all know that he lying. Why does he have to speak like that and who is he fooling this time?”
When Zimbabwe experienced a wave of citizen protests that shook Mugabe’s regime 2016, Chiwenga, who was Defence Forces Commander, issued a statement the military was going to defend its boss.
A year later, the same military led a surprise overthrow of the long serving leader.
In his comments, Mafume said Zimbabwe was not any personal property to the VP or any of the ruling elite.
“They must know that Zimbabwe is not their personal property but, it is a property for all Zimbabweans.
“Those who live in it will ultimately decide upon its destiny. They (ruling elite) do not give freedom; so they must know that sooner or later Zimbabweans will be free,” he said.
While Chiwenga’s statements could be dismissed as rally talk, many Zimbabweans may also be quick to remember similar declarations he made when he was still Zimbabwe Defence Forces commander and the military’s subsequent block of then MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai from assuming state authority when all pointed to his shock victory in the highly controversial 2008 elections.