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Mugabe defends Mnangagwa 'for breaking the law'

by Staff reporter
01 Jul 2017 at 12:56hrs | Views
President Robert Mugabe yesterday sprung to the defence of Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who is the face of the government-run Command Agriculture initiative that has come under severe criticism from within and outside his government for operating outside the confines of the law.

Addressing thousands of party supporters, mainly youths, who packed Mucheke Stadium, in Masvingo, Mugabe took a veiled dig at critics of the programme, who include Tsholotsho North Member of Parliament Jonathan Moyo, over their continued attacks on Mnangagwa and the initiative, which is meant to ensure food sufficiency.

The veteran Zanu-PF leader also took the opportunity to end the debate in the fractious Masvingo Province on who leads the region when he endorsed Ezra Chadzamira whose victory in May was being contested by losing candidate, Mutero Masanganise - who is said to be his relative.

Critically, he told the gathering that Command Agriculture was the brainchild of his wife, Grace and Mnangagwa, who jointly developed its concept before it was adopted by Cabinet.

"The Vice President (Emmerson) Mnangagwa initiated Command Agriculture with the First Lady in an attempt to unite people, their concern was that why can't we unite people sezvo taita nzara (since we have famine). They sat down the two of them, we didn't even know it….that's when they came up with the idea…and we accepted that it was a good project and that it would need money. So what wrong did they do?

"What wrong did Mnangagwa do? (In fact) this is what we call ideas," Mugabe said to ignite loud cheers from the big crowd.

"Now some are saying aah yapindirwa zvakare nemasoja yave yema soja (now the military has intervened and are now running it)…we are now being threatened by (military boss Constantino) Chiwenga…I don't know if that was him, what came out in the newspapers.

"This is our programme that comes under the ministry of Agriculture Dr (Joseph) Made. A very beautiful programme. We must not kill it. We see the fruits of this programme, a bumper harvest.

"It was only that those close to dams had an advantage, but there was also provisions for those not near dams, who rely on rain and the presidential input scheme help them out so that they each work side by side, Command and Presidential Input scheme," added Mugabe.

Mugabe spoke as emotions were still running high among his divided lieutenants following angry remarks by Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa who accused Moyo of attacking the Command Agriculture programme, days after we had also highlighted how it had flouted procurement laws.

Chinamasa followed this up in Parliament by likening Moyo's attacks on Command Agriculture to a barking dog.

On Tuesday Chiwenga labelled Moyo "an enemy of the State" as the military voiced its concern over the Tsholotsho North MP's attacks on the Command Agriculture.

The Higher and Tertiary Education minister has repeatedly savaged Mnangagwa on micro blogging site, Twitter, where he has often described Command Agriculture in disparaging terms.

In one of his tweets, Moyo has described Command Agriculture as Command Ugly Culture while also claiming it was being led by "Command Thieves".

This week, Chiwenga issued a lengthy statement in the State media, reserving his harshest criticism for Moyo, in comments that have attracted widespread condemnation among opposition political parties.

He justified his encroachment into civilian matters saying food security was one of the pillars of national security adding that an attack on the programme was an attack on the economy.

"When you attack the economy you become the enemy of the State," said Chiwenga.

"This guy (Moyo) who is vomiting that nonsense, didn't he get support from Command Agriculture," questioned Chiwenga.

"He has some other forces behind him? Hasn't he written books that he is going to destroy from within? We read. We are all educated. We read. He has said that.

"Everyone must see. He rebelled before. Not once. He rebelled when we were in the struggle, he ran away. When he ran away he did all his nonsense, his column in the Financial Gazette.

"And in his book, when he was teaching, his commentary on why he went to America - we know. When he left and went independent, was he repentant?

"And we know now that the tweeting is coming from Baba Jukwa and company, we know that. But I think he has got to where we wanted him to. Let me leave it at that," warned Chiwenga, ominously.

Moyo has since responded to Chiwenga, through in a cryptic fashion.

He cryptically tweeted in Shona on the same day Chiwenga issued his statement, saying, "Kuvhunduka chati kwata hunge uine katurikwa! (the guilty are the ones who are afraid)."

He also found unusual support from opposition political parties, including former vice president Joice Mujuru, whose dismissal from Zanu-PF in 2014, was partly orchestrated by the Higher Education minister.

Mujuru said the ZDF commander should not meddle in civilian politics but confine himself in the barracks.

The People's Democratic Party (PDP), led by former finance minister Tendai Biti, said Chiwenga's incessant interference with civilian processes was ultra vires the Constitution.

PDP said the function of the ZDF is to protect Zimbabwe, its people, its national security and interests and its territorial integrity and to uphold this Constitution.

Political analysts have consistently said the internecine fighting in Zanu-PF is being fuelled by Mugabe's failure to name a successor.

They said the ageing Zanu-PF leader was to blame for the rifts within the party and said it was not surprising that they had now invited the attentions of the military.

"At 93 and after uninterrupted 37 years in power the president is supposed to have retired long back and given way for someone else.

"Pro-democracy forces have consistently warned the ruling party of debilitating effects of an unprofessional army but they do not listen. We now see the army getting involved in internal succession dynamics.

"This is a serious threat to peace and stability in our country because the army has guns. It remains to be seen if ... Mugabe is able to resolve this thorny succession issue but I have my doubts," analyst Gladys Hlatywayo told the Daily News on Thursday.

Meanwhile, yesterday Mugabe endorsed Chadzamira to bring to an end the debate on who should lead the volatile region.

"….here is Chadzamira he is the one we have been given to listen to," Mugabe said while shaking Chadzamira's hand.

"Masvingo, Masvingo, Masvingo, this is Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe this is where we took the name of our country," he said calling for unity.

The province's chairmanship election was comprehensively won by Chadzamira -after he walloped Masanganise, who had pulled out days before polling in May, citing a number of irregularities.

Mugabe and the politburo had nullified results from the initial regional poll, which was again won by Chadzamira, amid claims of irregularities, including people not voting in some districts.

Source - dailynews