Mutinhiri confirmed as G40 party leader; meets Mugabe

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FORMER Mashonaland East Zanu PF Senator and provincial affairs minister Ambrose Mutinhiri has been confirmed as new political outfit National Patriotic Front (NPF)’s interim leader and presidential candidate in elections set for later this year.

The retired brigadier general and veteran of the country’s liberation struggle resigned from the ruling Zanu PF party and also quit Parliament last Friday.

His new role as interim NPF leader was confirmed in a statement signed by journalist turned political activist Jealous Mawarire.

The NPF leader met former President Robert Mugabe at the weekend to “upraise him on the launch of the party” which is linked to the veteran leader and his wife Grace as well as exiled former Cabinet ministers Jonathan Moyo, Patrick Zhuwao and Saviour Kasukuwere.

“Cde Mutinhiri is the founding president and presidential candidate of the NPF, whose formation was initiated on 19 November 2017 in direct response to the military coup four days earlier; and has come into fruition following an extensive private and public consultation process by its founding members,” said Mawarire in a statement Monday.

“The purpose of the courtesy call was to apprise President Mugabe of Cde Mutinhiri’s bold and inspiring resignation as well as to thank the President for having afforded Cde Mutinhiri a cherished opportunity to work with and under him in various national capacities.”

Mugabe was forced to resign under military pressure last November to be replaced by former deputy Emmerson Mnangagwa.

As the now 94-year-old leader resisted the military pressure, his Zanu PF party recalled him as its leader and initiated impeachment proceedings in parliament, forcing Mugabe’s capitulation.

Mutinhiri, the statement claimed, did not attend impeachment bid which was aborted when the veteran Zanu PF leader threw in the towel.

He reportedly told Mugabe that there is no constitutional order in Zimbabwe following the military coup adding the party will launch a Constitutional Court challenging the legality of Mnangagwa’s government.

“Cde Mutinhiri also took the opportunity to inform President Mugabe of the formation of the NPF by a cross section of Zimbabweans including but not limited to Zanu PF members who are outraged by the unconstitutional and humiliating manner in which President Mugabe was criminally ousted from the leadership of both Zanu PF and the country by really criminals who have shamelessly damaged Zimbabwe’s fledgling constitutional democracy and dented the professional reputation of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces,” said Mawarire who was said to have also attended the meeting said.

50 Zanu PF MPs back Mugabe

According to the statement some 50 Zanu PF lawmakers had resolved to vote against Mugabe’s impeachment which would have torpedoed the army’s plans but the then Zanu PF leader resigned before a vote was called.

Added Mawarire: “On the prospects of NPF, Cde Mutinhiri told President Mugabe following extensive consultations that have been going on since 19 November 2017, he can say with absolute certainty that out of every three Zanu PF members; at least two are solid NPF while the remainder are still hedging their bets, waiting to see where the wind is blowing.”

Mugabe reportedly told Mutinhiri to “fight the junta”.

“Everyone should fight to ensure that people are free to belong to parties of their choice and that there is no interference by the Army or those that would want to resort to violence as a means of getting votes,” the statement quoted Mugabe as having said.

“I hope your NPF party will empower the youths to takeover. Don’t oppress them; make sure they are not harassed. I know they will be harassed and some arrested but empower them mentally to fight for what is right”.

Mawarire said Mutinhiri also complained to Mugabe that Mnangagwa’s government was reversing the land reform programme.

“We are saddened, Cde President, that the so-called new dispensation is taking away farms from black farmers who have been resettled and handing them over to former white farmers.

“Mashonaland East Province has been leading in these reversals. I have been made to understand that the widow of the late Cde Chenjerai Hunzvi is those whose farms have been targeted by the coup government for repossession and reallocation to returning white farmers,” said Mawarire.