By Robert Tapfumaneyi
ZANU PF has apologised to Tanzanian President John Magufuli’s ruling party, Chama Chama Pinduzi for expelled information deputy minister Energy Mutodi’s undiplomatic criticism of that country’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
In his short career as minister, the outspoken Mutodi, who is also a Zanu PF MP for Goromonzi West, used the social media to attack Magufuli, making bizarre comments over how Tanzania was fighting the spread of Covid-19.
Last month, Foreign Affairs minister Sibusiso Moyo was forced to issue a ministerial statement disassociating Harare from Mutodi’s statements ridiculing Magufuli’s approach to the Covid-19 pandemic.
This was after the flamboyant politician, who was still deputy minister, had tweeted; “HE John Pombe Magufuli’s Tanzania now has 630 Covid-19 cases with prayers but without lockdown, while His Excellency President ED Mnangagwa’s Zimbabwe only got 31 cases with lockdown and masks. An insight into how managers can be game changers.”
He was fired by Mnangagwa a week later but no reason has been made public.
However, addressing journalists in Harare Thursday at Zanu PF’s headquarters, acting party spokesperson Patrick Chinamasa said Mutodi had exhibited the behaviour of an opposition MDC supporter.
“Zanu PF stand solidly behind the decision taken by his Excellency President Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa on 20 May 2020 to relieve Hon. Energy Mutodi from his position of Deputy Minister of Information,” Chinamasa said.
“Worse was the fact that the unhelpful negative comments were made by the Honorable Mutodi concerning a fellow SADC member country, a country whose population and political leadership made enormous sacrifices for the liberation of southern African countries including Zimbabwe.
“Zanu PF apologises to Chama Chama Pinduzi, President John Pombe Magufuli, the government and the people of the United Republic of Tanzania for the errant behaviour of our member and the unwarranted statements he made.”
Chinamasa said Zanu PF was also concerned about Mutodi’s veiled attacks on fellow party members.
“The party wishes to make it clear to those it has deployed to work in government and its general membership that discipline and teamwork under the leadership of our President, His Excellency ED Mnangagwa is an imperative, disagreements and contradictions if any among colleagues should be resolved through the party’s known channels and procedures and not on social media.
“Zanu PF cadres will never emulate the amoebic and divisive tendencies and characters of the splitting opposition groupings,” he said.