|The Zanu-PF ambush that never was|
|Saturday, 21 July 2012 21:27|
by Munyaradzi Huni
He said according to their plan, Zanu-PF was supposed to have two presidential candidates — President Mugabe and Makoni, but this plan was thrown into disarray after the Mavambo leader rushed to announce his candidature, leading to his dismissal from Zanu-PF.
In an exclusive interview with The Sunday Mail last Wednesday, Cde Dabengwa, who is now the Zapu leader, said during the Zanu-PF December Congress of 2007, he and the late Cde Solomon Mujuru wanted to field a candidate to contest President Mugabe for the leadership of the party, but the process was allegedly manipulated.
“I decided at the end of December after the 2007 congress when President Mugabe was re-nominated as presidential candidate and I said no I think we have lost direction. The President has grown old. I think he needs to step down and let somebody come in. We were together with the late Rex Nhongo (the late Cde Solomon Mujuru).
When he was asked whether the late Cde Mujuru was really in support of this move, he said: “Absolutely. We actually had meant in 2007 at that congress to have an opposing candidate to be nominated, but everything was manipulated to ensure that there was no debate about the presidential candidate.
“The party would have decided, but when that failed and we realised what was going on outside, what people were saying out there, we realised that Zanu-PF would lose dismally in the elections and if that happened that would mean the end, probably the end even of the history of the liberation struggle like what happened in Zambia when Kaunda was defeated by little Chiluba.
“UNIP (Zambia’s liberation movement) to this day has disappeared and all those struggles that were done by UNIP are almost forgotten now. We said after losing so many of our colleagues who died during the liberation struggle, Chitepo, Parirenyatwa, JZ Moyo and others, that’s going to happen to us in Zimbabwe. We saw it happen and we said no. We said we are going to see the President and ask him to step down.
“We met with Msika, Vice-President, both myself and Mujuru (the late Cde Solomon Mujuru) and pleaded with him to ask the President to step down and allow the party to choose another candidate. We said it doesn’t matter who it was.
“When that failed that is when I decided, and I said look we are going to lose this election, that’s going to be the end of Zapu, that’s going to be the end of Zanu. What do we do? Let’s have an alternative candidate who will make sure there is no winner in this thing and that’s how we came around to support (Simba) Makoni. And Makoni was able to make that difference and to make sure that there was no winner in that thing and that what’s caused the GNU.” Cde Dabengwa said the move to support Makoni was meant “to save the history of the liberation struggle and we succeeded in doing that.” He, however, said Makoni “jumped the gun” and made a mistake: “Yeah, we had support. First there was a mistake. At that stage we did not want Makoni to fight as an independent. “We wanted Makoni to fight as a candidate of Zanu-PF and there would have been two candidates in Zanu-PF and people would have to choose between Mugabe and Makoni. We were confident that the majority of the people would actually choose Makoni. That was the strategy, that was the target. “This failed because Makoni made a mistake. He announced his candidature before the nomination day and he was sacked from the party.”
When he was asked whether the strategy to have Makoni as another Zanu-PF presidential candidate was sort of an ambush, Cde Dabengwa said: “Yes, but he went on to do what he did and it was too late to stop him. He had already decided he would do that.”