Latest News Editor's Choice

News / National

Mugabe humbles Tshinga Dube

by Staff reporter
29 Jun 2017 at 07:32hrs | Views
War Veterans minister, Tshinga Dube, had a one-on-one meeting with President Robert Mugabe after yesterday's Cabinet meeting, the first such encounter since a furore broke out over the retired colonel's controversial remarks over the weekend.

The former Zimbabwe Defence Industries chief executive won the hearts of many when he declared his support for war veterans who are calling on Mugabe to name his successor to quell the vicious infighting in his party.

But he became a marked man among a section of former liberation war fighters who cannot fathom a life without Mugabe, who has ruled Zimbabwe since its attainment of independence from Britain in 1980.

Those peeved by his unprecedented remarks are baying for Dube's blood, saying the 76-year-old ex-guerrilla war fighter was advocating for the blatant violation of Zanu-PF's constitution, which provides that the party's first secretary and president is elected at congress, held after every five years.

Zanu-PF had its last congress in 2014, where Mugabe was re-elected unopposed, earning an automatic ticket to stand in the 2018 polls as its presidential candidate.

The next congress is due in 2019, when Mugabe will be 95 years old.

Dube claimed at a press conference yesterday that Mugabe put the matter to finality when he schooled him about the process followed when the party wants to choose a successor.

"He came to me after Cabinet. His Excellency talked to me; he just reminded me that, look, I am only mandated by the constitution to choose my deputies. I only say yes sir. He said the issue of choosing a successor lies with the congress. He has given me the directive and, as my commander-in-chief, I listened. He came in a fatherly manner, as a leader and as a teacher," said Dube.

In the wake of pressure being brought to bear on him to anoint a successor, Mugabe has insisted that whoever would take over from him will have to be chosen by Zanu-PF delegates at congress.

Notwithstanding, ambitious heavyweights in his party are burning the midnight oil, plotting their ascendancy to the high-pressure job in the event that Mugabe retires from active politics.

Yesterday, Dube denied speculation that he was merely conveying sentiments from his purported shadowy handlers, among them Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA) chairperson, Christopher Mutsvangwa.

Mutsvangwa, who was expelled from Zanu-PF and government last year for undermining Mugabe's authority, was among those who saluted Dube for being courageous.

"I didn't want to offend anyone. It was my opinion. I respect the constitution of the party. For those who say I represent Mutsvangwa — I heard this coming up over and over again — I haven't met Mutsvangwa for over a year (now). I don't know where he is and what he is doing," said Dube, but remarked that there was no problem for people to think alike.

Nevertheless, Dube continued to walk a tight political rope as of yesterday.

A grouping of war veterans opposed to Mutsvangwa and his ZNLWVA leadership gathered in Harare yesterday where they called for Mugabe to give Dube his marching orders.

Led by George Mlala and Mandi Chimene, the Provincial Affairs minister for Manicaland, the war veterans said Dube was not representing their interests when he made those controversial utterances.

"We want to spread this (anti-Dube gatherings) to all provinces. Go and tell the people that Dube misfired and we are appealing to the president to do something. Those who are saying president Mugabe must retire are the same people who came with him from war and worked in government since 1980 and they must also retire if they want our president to retire," said Chimene, who also denigrated Dube's looks.

Mlala weighed in, saying Dube must resign.

"Dube must go and wait for his preferred candidate whom he thinks is ready to succeed the president at a bus stop. We don't want him to be a minister," he said.

Dube was adamant yesterday, that he will continue to serve as long as Mugabe wants him to.

He said Chimene and Mlala had no say in the appointment of ministers as it was Mugabe's prerogative to do so.

"I don't think the president is told by (Mandi) Chimene and (George) Mlala to hire and fire. I was appointed by the president; if he thinks I am not doing my job he will fire me," he said.

"That's wishful thinking, their suggestions don't carry any weight. I have no respect for them. I never heard anyone who was appointed by Chimene and Mlala to be a minister. War veterans are like any other people they have the right to say something about the future of the country. We are also interested in the future of our country as war veterans," he said.

Source - dailynews