Mutsvangwa denies stealing women’s underwear; says liberation war cadres too poor to afford pants

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By Staff Reporter

ZANU PF politburo member and presidential advisor, Christopher Mutsvangwa claimed that Zimbabweans fought the liberation struggle without putting on pants due to poverty.

Mutsvangwa said this during heated exchanges mostly pitying him and National Patriotic Front (NPF) spokesperson Jealousy Mawarire at a panel discussion on elections Thursday. The event was organised by the Zimbabwe Electoral Support Network (ZESN).

The two were among seven representatives from some top political parties and coalitions invited to come and address issues pertaining to their approach to the elections.

The discussion occasionally veered off the day’s topic with rivals exchanging open insults.

At the start of the deliberations, Mutsvangwa went into his trademark praise of Zanu PF which he said was way above its opponents as it delivered the country’s independence.

The outspoken former ambassador to China also jeered at the opposition for failing to remove ex-president Robert Mugabe for 37 years, adding that it took the ingenuity of his party Zanu PF to dislodge the once feared leader.

His comments invited a strong rebuke from Mawarire who scorned President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s administration for allegedly surrendering its authority to the military.

Mawarire insisted that his new party led by former Mashonaland East provincial affairs minister Ambrose Mutinhiri will “kick” the military out of government if voted into power this year.

Criminals around Mugabe

He slammed Zanu PF for removing Mugabe from office on the pretext of ridding government of “criminals” around the former President when the same party has now lined up characters with criminal records to contest for parliamentary seats.

Mutsvangwa, on his part, accused the NPF spokesperson and other panellists of being too fixated with alleged military involvement in government affairs while failing to invent their own strategies to win elections.

He urged Mawarire to head straight to the army barracks and canvass for votes if he still believed the military decides who becomes President.

Mutsvangwa also told a heckling audience to respect war veterans, adding that the country’s liberation struggle was far from being a “match between Highlanders and Dynamos” but it saw many deaths.

But Mawarire said his party and many others had war veterans in their ranks whose roles in the country’s liberation they also appreciated.

“We are only disdainful to those war veterans who are infamous for stealing underwear during the liberation war and now take themselves as stoke holders of this country. That is what we are worried about,” he said, repeating former Higher and Tertiary Education Minister Jonathan Moyo’s accusations Mutsvangwa stole women’s panties during the war.

Ill-informed individuals

But the presidential advisor was quick to fire back, further telling the audience there was no pant to steal from anyone as freedom fighters literally walked with no pants on.

“Everybody seems to be excited about slurs from ill-informed individuals,” Mutsvangwa said.

“For your own information, when we fought the war, women did not even have underwear. Neither did men.

“This was a period of extreme deprivation. We did not even have food. You could count ribs on my body. So, for somebody to bring slurs about that war the way he (Mawarire) did is precisely why there is a dissonance between the politicians like him and the Zimbabwean public.

“If you are disdainful of their war and the suffering that they went through to be where they are today, then you expect their vote, then go and join Grace Mugabe.”

Mutsvangwa, who also had direct exchanges with the audience, accused the moderator of failing to restrain Mawarire from attacking him.