By Victor Chipato
The state-owned 'The Sunday Mail' has reported that the Vice President Joice Mujuru was at the centre of a plot to assassinate President Mugabe making "her continued incumbency untenable."
The report alleges that "two of the VP's closest allies – former Zanu-PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo and current secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa – have recently spoken of assassinating President Mugabe" and "there is no way VP Mujuru can be separated from the intentions of her closest allies."
The story claims further that a Cabinet minister from Mashonaland Central who is Joice Mujuru's ally "made contingencies for such a scenario during recent meetings with potential hitmen in South Africa and Israel."
Mujuru has suffered attacks from the state media in recent weeks with President Robert Mugabe's wife Grace, also calling for her resignation.
Analysts have described media attacks on the vice president as part of ruling party's factional war ahead of the December congress.
'Mutasa Should Also Step Down'
By Felex Share
PRESIDENTIAL Affairs Minister Didymus Mutasa's plot to assassinate President Mugabe calls for the President to immediately fire him from his posts in the party and Government because as Presidential Affairs minister, his moral blameworthiness was very high as his ministerial portfolio has oversight on State security, legal experts and political commentators have said.
Police, the analysts said, should also be seized with the matter because Cde Mutasa and suspended party spokesperson Rugare Gumbo wanted to topple a constitutionally-elected President using unconstitutional means which translates to treason.
Cde Mutasa's plot to assassinate President Mugabe emerged in last Thursday's Politburo meeting where party members heard that last month, the Zanu-PF Secretary for Administration boasted to one of his lovers that "if President Mugabe blocks the ascendancy of Vice President Mujuru to the Presidency at the Zanu-PF Congress, then he will be shot".
The lover immediately reported Cde Mutasa, who is a close ally of VP Mujuru, to the authorities.
In addition to what was reported by our sister paper, The Sunday Mail, Cde Mutasa is reported by the source to have also said: "This time we (the Mujuru faction) are ready to show Mugabe at Congress that he has no support. So if he refuses to listen to us, we will take him out".
Another VP Mujuru ally, suspended party spokesperson Rugare Gumbo, was recorded making assassination threats: "Kana (President) Mugabe akaramba achipusha Mujuru out tichamubvisa sezvakaitwa (Laurent) Kabila."
DRC's President Laurent Kabila was killed by a member of his security team in January 2001.
The analysts said Cde Mutasa was literally getting away with murder given that while he had said "what", Rugare Gumbo who had said "how" had been given the boot; and while ousted Manicaland provincial chair John Mvundura had attended the abortive burial function where former war veterans chairman Jabulani Sibanda had made scandalous allegations against the First Family including threatening to march to State House with Cde Mutasa, it was Mvundura who had received a written reprimand.
Legal and political experts said yesterday that it was "hazardous" for President Mugabe to work closely with someone scheming his downfall as well as leaving such a sensitive ministerial post, that has oversight on State security, in the hands of a person with a devious agenda.
Newly elected Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans' Association chairperson Cde Christopher Mutsvangwa, whose nom de guerre was Cde Che, said being in charge of State security, Cde Mutasa was not required to "brook" any actions of treachery.
As such, Cde Mutsvangwa said, Cde Mutasa should face the boot forthwith or resign voluntarily.
"His assignment is one of complete loyalty to the principal as it is about VIP protection," he said. "It brooks not even appearance of mistrust, let alone actions of treachery. He wanted the President for their regime change lunch, but now we move early and quick for breakfast. Akanyangira yaona."
Investigations have revealed that another Cabinet minister from Mashonaland Central, closely linked to VP Mujuru, made contingencies for such a scenario of assassinating President Mugabe during recent meetings with potential hitmen in South Africa and Israel.
There are two Cabinet ministers from Mashonaland Central, Cdes Saviour Kasukuwere and Nicholas Goche. Efforts to get comments from them were unsuccessful at the time of going to press.
"There's a very clear connection between the treasonous statements made by Didymus Mutasa and Rugare Gumbo. By saying that they were planning to take out the president by shooting him, Mutasa was indicating what the Mujuru faction was planning to do to oust the President, and by saying the President would go the Kabila way Gumbo was indicating how the faction was planning to take out the President," said Hamilton Ruwodo, a South Africa based political scientist.
Political analyst Mr Alexander Rusero said the allegations levelled against Cde Mutasa and Cde Gumbo deserved police investigation and prosecution.
For the meantime, he said, the pair was not fit to hold any post in Government and the party, adding that the party should get rid of all "political chaff" at the party's elective congress early next month.
Zanu-PF is set to hold its 6th National People's Congress from December 2 to 7 in Harare.
"This issue must not be taken at face value because the security of the country and that of the ruling party is being undermined," Mr Rusero said.
"The President should mop up all political chaff because politics is not like a church where people are always forgiven for their sins, it is all about justice. He (President Mugabe) has been patient enough waiting for what people will say, but faced with such a scenario the solution is to get rid of tricksters. Those being implicated should also leave office."
Mr Rusero said expelling the culprits would show that Zanu-PF was bigger than individuals.
"It's the turning point of Zanu-PF history where the purported godfathers and kingmakers are falling by the wayside," he said. "Going forward, it means the party should not invest in personalities but competency and transparency.
"The ball is in President Mugabe's court and he should simply fire those who no longer have the interests of the party at heart."
Cde Mutasa refused to get into details of the matter yesterday.
"Sekufunga kwako unofunga kuti ichokwadi? Ndikataura newe wozodii? Anyway ndakati handichada kutaura nevanhu vekumapepa (Do you think that is true? If I comment what will you do? Anyway I no longer want to talk to journalists)," he said before handing over the phone to a person who identified himself as his son.
"Listen, whoever you are whether you are a journalist or what, you have no right to force my father to speak to you," fumed the son.
Cde Gumbo reiterated his "I would watch the battle from the terraces" comment.
Prominent Harare lawyer Mr Terrence Hussein said no one was above the law and the two, Cde Mutasa and Gumbo, should be investigated.
"It is not good to leave things as they are," he said. "It is imperative that full facts are established quickly for action to be taken. Either the law takes its course or they get cleared.
"Police agents can be used in this case because, if it is true, this is a treasonous charge as they would have wanted to topple a constitutionally elected President using unconstitutional means."
Former Attorney-General Mr Sobusa Gula-Ndebele said investigations were needed to establish if there was a case.
Another lawyer, Mr Jonathan Samukange, said treasonous charges should be pressed against anyone who wants to remove the President unlawfully.
"Using force or violence to remove the State or the Head of State is a treasonous act and anyone found doing that should be charged," he said.
Mr Tinei Chirahwi, who phoned in from Mutare, said leaving Cde Mutasa untouched was akin to letting him get away with murder.
"VaMutasa vari kuita kunge lizard anoti kuna gonzo let's go for a swim but gonzo odzoka mambava akatota ivo mascales avo ari dry. He should face the music like Gumbo," he said.
Cdes Mutasa and Gumbo have been the most vocal and active in propping up VP Mujuru's ambition to take over the Presidency just one year after President Mugabe individually secured more than 61 percent of the Presidential vote.
And just last week, a few days before he was suspended, Cde Gumbo said the core business of the Zanu-PF congress in early December was "succession", again ignoring President Mugabe's five-year mandate which he was given by Zimbabweans to lead them.
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