PERENNIAL wisdom dictates that even among the brave, when one decides to swim against the tide either through sheer bravery, stupidity or both by dinning with the devil, it is always advisable to use the longest fork.
Indeed, not many would need to be reminded of this adage including Cde Christopher Mutsvangwa, the overzealous War Veterans Minister who is in the eye of the storm as he gets tangled in Zanu PF’s succession mud wrestling.
It is not long ago when the minister gained not only prominence but a fair share of notoriety as Mugabe’s foot soldier together with his wife Monica and others in the crusade to annihilate the ‘’Gamatox’’ faction allegedly aligned to Joice Mujuru. Regrettably, little did the couple realise that the river will always drown he who doesn’t know how to swim. As events have turned out to be, the combative minister, just like his idol Emerson Mnangagwa, is in fact a lizard as opposed to an alligator.
Hardly a few months even before the dust settles down after Mujuru’s ouster and subsequent expulsion from the ruling party, the Mutsvangwas are on the ropes, gasping for dear life as the beast has turned against them in a complete reversal of fortunes, thus, fulfilling the old adage that if one decides to ride on the back of an crocodile, it is always advisable to have Plan B in case the monster has a change of heart. Alas, this truism never dawned in Cde Mutsvangwa’s mind, hence, the trepidations that rock not only the ex-combatant’s political career but his life as well.
In fact, Mutsvangwa’s demise, just like that of other bootlickers in Zanu PF was predictable, for, like Joice Mujuru, Didymus Mutasa, Rugare Gumbo, Temba Mliswa, Jabulani Sibanda and others before him, the War Veterans Minister is a callous and master opportunist, insensitive and arrogant individual with a big ego. Like a ninja warrior, Mutsvangwa has a warped mindset that misleads him into believing that had it not been for him, the execution of the liberation struggle would have stalled.
Informed by this delusional and parochial view, the minister feels that the nation owes him some measure of gratitude. And, like “Gamatox” troopers who, before him, got carried away in bootlicking the beast until the monster turned against them, Mutsvangwa deluded himself into believing that a lie which he helped fabricate inorder to annihilate the Mujuru faction was to withstand the test of time and the opposite appears to be the case now as the minister is threatened with not only expulsion from the party but subsequent recall from parliament.Advertisement
In this regard, it implies that by backing a lie that has its origin in one of the State House bedrooms without subjecting it to scrutiny, consciously or otherwise, Mutsvangwa and his lieutenants sharpened the tools that are now being used to stab them at the back, hence, the adage, ashes blow in the face of one who throws them. Not only that, the minister’s demise can be traced back to his failure to understand the institution of Zanu PF as a party in spite of his claims to the contrary. In fact, Mutsvangwa should have realised that under Robert Mugabe, the party has become a mafia syndicate, with the incumbent himself as its godfather, Grace as the godmother with the rest being inductees. On this premise, it implies that as Mafioso inductees, Mutsvangwa and others have no right to question Mugabe’s decisions however unpalatable they might be including Saviour Kasukuwere’s appointment as National Political Commissar as well as Grace’s increasing involvement in party politics since complete obedience to the boss is a central tenet of mafia commandments.
In this context, it implies that there is no room for divided allegiance by inductees between Mugabe and Mnangagwa as the former has the final say as the mafia godfather on the succession issue. In addition, either consciously or otherwise, the minister appears not to realise or accept the fact that mafia organisations the world over may be organised along family lines, with female godmothers inheriting the lucrative syndicate business in the absence husbands. As happened in Naples (Italy) half a decade ago, with their husbands locked up, the women of Camorra Crime syndicate took charge of the lucrative mafia business as godmothers. A typical example of these mafia queens was Giuseppina Vitale of the Cosa Nostra in Sicily.
Mutsvangwa has to be reminded that with Mugabe’s age getting the better of him, Grace has to fill the vacuum as the mafia godmother to protect the interests of the mafia empire. And, with due respect, does Mutsvangwa believe that Mugabe trusts Mnangagwa to be a trustee of the Gushungo Holdings in the former’s absence? And, for Mutsvangwa to criticise his boss (Mugabe), for conflating the institutions of marriage and that of state is not only misguided but a sign of ignorance on the minister’s part, for, Grace has to strategically position herself to inherit the mafia syndicate in the post-Mugabe era, hence, her insistence to purchase a “special wheel chair” for the incumbent. In this regard, the earlier Mutsvangwa realises that he has sworn an allegiance to this cult the better for him and his family, for, there is a code of honour the minister has to respect of which betrayal is harshly punishable, hence, threats of expulsion from the party and subsequent recall from parliament.
Unable to understand the dynamics of Zanu PF’s succession debacle, the combative minister, like many other war veterans, thought that whoever is to succeed Mugabe should have strong liberation credentials, hence, the decision to back Emerson Mnangagwa. Little did the minister realise that Mugabe bought this view only when it suited him against his arch- rival Morgan Tsvangirai to advance a personal agenda that has nothing to do with party policy. Unknown to poor Mutsvangwa and other war veterans, by singing this tune in Zanu PF circles now is toxic since this archaic policy automatically disqualifies Dr. Amai (Grace) from the succession race (she was still a teenager during the liberation struggle). At worst, such a stance is an insult to Mugabe who is certain the mafia empire needs a guardian to inherit.
Moreover, the minister miscalculated in assuming that by engineering Mujuru’s fall, Mnangagwa was just a foot from the throne. Instead, the minister should have smelled a rat when Mugabe unilaterally elevated Mnangagwa and Mphoko after Mujuru’s ouster instead of the party conducting elections to fill the vacant posts. By nominating his vice presidents after the December congress as opposed to electing them, Mugabe had two main motives. It was a statement to party cadres that he had the final say on the issue. In addition, by extending an olive branch to his vice presidents, the incumbent expected the two to reciprocate the same gesture, thus, the appointments becoming a weapon to pacify beneficiaries.
It implies that with all these signs on the wall, Mutsvangwa should have been more careful with each step he was to take. Regrettably on the minister’s part, he behaved as if nothing had happened, hence, the mess in which he finds himself in. Thirdly, the minister took too long to realise that Kasukuwere and Jonathan Moyo are Grace’s foot soldiers and directly fighting Mugabe’s corner. By being sucked into a mud wrestling with Kasukuwere, Mutsvangwa did not realise that he was being drawn into an indirect tussle with the First Family, hence, the reprimand he got from Mugabe in Victoria Falls. Fourthly, just like other Zanu PF bootlickers, failed to realise that reforms which the opposition are calling for were necessary to check Mugabe’s powers and even the nonagenarian’s dreams to hand over power to his wife. Regrettably, in Mutsvangwa’s parochial mind set, the reform agenda is a western ploy to destabilise the country, hence, the ex-combatant being caught unaware.
In order to annihilate Mutsvangwa completely, the mafia bosses will soon open a docket and lay charges against the minister on imaginary or real offences before they drag him to the courts, hence, Kasukuwere’s threats to expose the former’s financial embezzlement during his stint at ZBC. This is not a new strategy employed by the mafia gang to destroy real and or imagined foes. As reported in media recently, Nicholas Goche, one of the prodigal sons in the wilderness, has been linked to the disappearance of $3 million belonging to the government owned Central Mechanical Equipment Department (CMED) soon after his ouster from the mafia club. It is alleged that Mugabe’s office knew of Goche’s alleged involvement in the scam but made efforts to protect the former minister for political reasons until that time it was no longer convenient to do so.
As was the case with the Tsholotsho debacle, Mnangagwa might be spared the sword for now on strategic reasons but it won’t be long before vultures descend on him in their final onslaught. As has been observed with mafia gangs, the world over, Mutsvangwa needs to realise that since he has sworn allegiance to the cult, his personal opinion no longer matters much as he is part of an entity, a way of life, the path. In this context, if one does or is alleged to have done something wrong, their life is no longer theirs but the property of this entity.
Today, they claim to be brothers, they kiss each other on the lips, they kiss each other on both cheeks, give each other hugs, baptise each other’s kids but the next day they shoot each other in the back of their heads. In the Mafioso world, these fights can be so brutal as witnessed in Serbia in 2003 when Milan Jurisic, a member of the Serbian mafia believed to be behind the assassination of Prime Minister Zoran Dindic, met a sad ending himself when he crossed paths with Luka Bojovic, the leader of the Zemun Clan. His killers smashed him with a hammer before they minced up his body, ate it for lunch and made a mask out of the skin of his face. Cde Mutsvangwa, in Shona, vakuru vanoti rufu rwemuredzi kufa achikakaradzwa nemakarwe uyewo urwo rwemumori weuchi kukoromoka mumuti.
William Muchayi is a pro-democracy and political analyst who can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org