By Robert Tapfumaneyi
FORMER cabinet minister Walter Mzembi has advised his erstwhile colleague, President Emmerson Mnangagwa, to desist from using the State to punish or settle political disputes with his opponents.
Mzembi told NewZimbabwe.com from his base in South Africa, Saturday evening that every politician with a different political ideology from Mnangagwa had become the Zimbabwe strongman’s target of persecution.
He was responding to threats by Mnangagwa in Gweru, Saturday that he would soon invoke a newly signed extradition treaty between Zimbabwe and South Africa to bring home former vocal Zanu PF G40 faction members based in that country who include Mzembi.
“I have suffered immensely from his ill-treatment ranging from repossession of my farms, an attempt at my houses, repossession of my conditions of service vehicles. One of which I am told he personally allocated to himself and subsequently to a family member,” Mzembi said.
“I am not sure if anyone can survive health-wise from this assault which includes frequent bashing by state media just to mess my reputation.
“I am a survivor of cancer and he still wants to incarcerate me after declaring me an enemy of the state on two different occasions. So weaponising extradition treaties against opponents is just a step further from the harassment he has been meting out on me and others but our dispute is only political.”
Mzembi said his rancour with Mnangagwa has escalated after the state leader was misinformed by his advisers that he (Mzembi) once tried to use his influence in the SADC region as then Foreign Affairs Minister to stop the November 2017 military coup.
The coup toppled now late President Robert Mugabe from office to be replaced by Mnangagwa.
Mzembi said Mnangagwa should not continue to be hostile to his opponents as this was affecting him to perform his duties as president.
“My advice to Mnangagwa is he must unite Zimbabweans and stop this pursuit of citizens with differing opinions and political views to his. I reached out to him on the 27th November 2017, he snubbed me. I wrote to him in January 2018 and he replied with arrests.
“I reached out again to him in September 2018, he dispatched a Ferret team to abduct on the 19th of September. He has a consistent pattern of replying rapprochement with intense hostility.”
Mzembi also said Mnangagwa had several graft charges against him that were destroyed when the military elevated him to president.
“When he (Mnangagwa) ran away to South Africa in 2017, who extradited him? He had many criminal dockets that have since been shelved under his watch. He comes out to me as an angry president and that anger blinds him to perform state duties, principal among them is uniting Zimbabweans.
“So, I summed up my situation and concluded I was best away from home on a political sabbatical,” said Mzembi.