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'Mugabe is super human'

05 Mar 2017 at 09:04hrs | Views

Zanu-PF secretary for youth affairs Kudzai Chipanga courted controversy when he claimed President Robert Mugabe had stopped the rains so his birthday celebrations in Matobo could go on undisturbed. He also took advantage of the celebrations to attack ministers in the economic cluster, saying they had failed Mugabe and called for their resignation. The Standard senior reporter Obey Manayiti (OM) spoke to Chipanga (KC) last week to try and understand why he is going to extraordinary lengths to support Mugabe.

Below are excerpts of the interview.

OM: What is your reaction to criticism of the 21st February Movement celebrations you held recently for President Robert Mugabe given the background that the country is facing severe floods and general hardships?

KC: 21st February Movement, it's a youth league programme, which is held annually by the youth league. Whether there are floods, whether there is no rain, whether the sun rose from the west to the east, the youth league of the party, Zanu-PF, is mandated to have the 21st February Movement celebrations. The youth league of the party is mandated to carry out its obligations under the aims and objectives of the party, that is to mobilise young people to participate in socio-economic and political affairs of this country. Despite the fact that the 21st February Movement is a way of honouring our president, it is also a way by the youth league to mobilise young people to join the party after emulating the good works and the life of our visionary leader. We are sorry about the natural incident that occurred in some regions of the country where there are floods and we understand the government is doing all it can to assist those who are affected by floods. As the youth league, we are mobilising some material resources to assist those people, who have been affected by the floods. Some of them, if not the majority, are Zanu-PF members, so we sympathise with them. Even those who are not Zanu-PF members are fellow citizens and we are concerned about their lives more than anything else. We also appreciate the work being done by the responsible ministers who are always visiting the affected areas.

OM: After the Matobo celebrations, some youths slept at some Bulawayo schools without blankets and food. There were reports that some were stranded after the celebrations. What caused that?

KC: Yes, it came to my attention that there were youths who were facing some challenges as far as food and accommodation is concerned, particularly those from Harare province.

We had underestimated the number of people who were coming to attend the president's birthday celebrations.

However, we were equally taken by surprise to see that Bulawayo was flooded by Zanu-PF young people. We had anticipated an average number of delegates from our provinces since provincial chairpersons had promised to come with about 10 000 per province, so we were guided by these numbers in terms of our budgets. Fortunately, or unfortunately, the numbers caught us by surprise because some provinces brought more people. We had to look for supplementary food and accommodation for them overnight so we tried our best as the youth league leaders to source extra food and accommodation than we had budgeted for.

OM: Don't you think those who were left out might feel used?

KC: It is not common in Zanu-PF to have a situation whereby a party member who fails to access services can start to say negative things against the party. According to our belief, getting anything or not, one still remains a party cadre. Those people, who will speak ill of the party because they failed to access material things, we take them as they are — not fully-fledged members of the party. A bona fide Zanu-PF member, with or without sugar, still remains loyal to the party.

OM: So are you saying these are renegades who came to cause chaos?

KC: I cannot rule out the fact that there were none Zanu-PF attendees because the 21st Movement is not strictly for Zanu-PF members only. It is meant to celebrate the life and birth of the head of state, who is the president for both Zanu-PF, MDC-T, other MDCs, ZimPF1, ZimPF second, ZimPF third and others, including Egypt Dzinemunhenzva, all the opposition outfits are led by President Mugabe, so we were getting calls even before the event, as some members of other political parties were inquiring from our offices whether they were welcome to attend or not. We told them to be free to come. It's not surprising to hear there were some attendees who were not Zanu-PF members and the majority of them are the ones, who, if they don't get ice-cream or chips, end up saying we are no longer Zanu-PF members and talk negatively about the party. Genuine members of the party, with or without material resources, they will remain Zanu-PF.

OM: How much did you raise for the celebrations and who were your main funders given allegations that you forced civil servants and poor villagers to make contributions?

KM: For starters, Zanu-PF is a people oriented party. Zanu-PF is a people driven party and we are not foreign funded like MDC-T and ZimPF. Zanu-PF survives on donations and subscriptions from its members. When we do fundraising activities, we receive donations from well-wishers and our members be it civil servant or none. If you donate to Zanu-PF, we receive that donation wholeheartedly. If there are some people, who feel they were forced to contribute, we encourage them to come forward to our offices so that we address their concerns. We don't support the element of forcing people to donate to Zanu-PF. We want people, who donate voluntarily and from the bottom of their hearts no matter what sector they are from and that can include civil servants, the Christian community, the farming community or whatever, we welcome the donation.

OM: Are you sure if they come they will not be victimised?

KC: There is no way they will be victimised. We are the leadership of the youth league and the moment they come to us, they have the necessary security they want.

OM: Why do you want Mugabe to be a life president given the economic, political and social problems caused by his rule?

KC: President Mugabe is a politician and is not the economic minister. We must distinguish the two, economy and politics. Of course they relate, but we are clear that the president is the head of state. He was elected and not employed so all those calls from some quarters of the society, particularly from the opposition that the president must step down are not going to be tolerated. The only constituency that has the right to call for President Mugabe to step down are the people of Zimbabwe, who voted for him, particularly Zanu-PF members.

OM: In your speech at the celebrations, you accused ministers in the economic cluster of being incompetent. Does that not reflect badly on the appointing authority — Mugabe?

KC: We don't see how it would reflect badly on the appointing authority. For starters, we don't use the term incompetent, it is coming from you now Mr Journalist. We have got a strong feeling that they are not doing enough. We no longer have opposition threats in this country and people are now confident with President Mugabe. Our only opponent is the economy and we cannot afford to sweep that issue under the carpet. We need to talk about it, we need to discuss it and we need to engage on that issue of the economy. We strongly feel that our ministers, who are in charge of economic ministries, are not doing enough, hence, we feel there might be need for the appointing authority to appoint non-politicians for those economic ministries.

OM: Do you think there are any ministers in the current Cabinet who have performed to expectations?

KC: Well, I might not be the best person to scrutinise each and every minister since it is not also my responsibility to scrutinise them on individual capacity, but as far as I am concerned or young people in this country are concerned, we are focused on the economy. Those in charge of economic ministries must pull up their socks.

OM: Some senior Zanu-PF members such as Justice Mayor Wadyajena continue to taunt you on social media, saying you are uneducated and that you are G40. Why do you think there is such resentment towards your leadership?

KC: Mayor Wadyajena might say that; forgive him since he is still new in the party. He needs more time to learn about party processes and how people are elected into certain positions. People are not elected in certain positions because of academic qualification, but they are elected into positions through the provided general electoral processes, where people vote for one another. But anyway, you don't necessarily need to be educated so that you lead God's people. You need to have wisdom, just like President Mugabe. Education must complement the wisdom, not wisdom to complement education. You need wisdom first and that is of paramount importance. At the same time, we appreciate efforts being made by our president to promote the education system in this country and we call for our young people to go to school and when that wisdom is complemented by education, there would be more dynamism in all the facets of our economy. However, you don't need education to lead but you need wisdom. You need education to get employed.

OM: There was outrage over your recent statement insinuating that Mugabe stopped the rains for his birthday celebrations. That he is divine. What were you trying to say?

KC: Yes, of course. He is not an ordinary human being. Last time people were saying a lot of funny things about me when I said President Mugabe is next to Jesus. President Mugabe is a super human being and he is one of his kind.

You will never find any other leader in this world who matches President Mugabe. Several years ago there was a prophecy, which was done even before the president got into this leadership position and it was prophesied that he would lead. We have other several prophecies, which confirm that he is divine. Just some few years ago, we held his birthday celebrations in Matabeleland North province and it was sunny, it was hot in Victoria Falls but the night President Mugabe arrived it was raining. After he had gone, the sun returned. When we had the 21st Movement celebration in Masvingo last year, it was hot but the time when he descended on that province at Great Zimbabwe the following day it was raining. In Matobo, when the president was about to speak, the rains threatened to fall but they were halted until he had finished his speech.

OM: If he had these supernatural powers, why is it not working on the economy?

KC: Even in that respect (he has supernatural powers), you agree with me that in 2007 and 2008 our economy was so bad due to the illegal sanctions imposed on our country by the West. However, you can agree, if you want to be honest with yourself, that the economy is recovering. All those mechanisms, which are being put in place by President Mugabe's government are meant to revive this economy. For instance, the resuscitation of Kariba Power Station, Hwange Power Station points to the revival of our economy because you cannot revive the economy without the energy sector. Statutory Instrument 64 of 2016 is meant to revive the economy. These rains have come to complement our command agriculture so I can tell you that the economy is recovering, though it is not recovering at the pace we might anticipate as young people given that we now have a long backlog of unemployment.

OM: Are you saying SI 64 is working? Why was the president munching imported Lays potato chips at the birthday celebrations?

KC: I cannot answer on that one whether imported or not because I am not privy to the food the president eats. At the same time, I never bothered to read the packet of whatever food he was eating, so I may not be the best person to answer on President Mugabe's meals.

OM: Mugabe suggested on the possibility of an early congress. Do you think this is possible?

KC: Under the Zanu-PF constitution, the president has a right to call for that extraordinary congress if he sees it fit, but as far as the issue of electing a party presidential candidate is concerned, we as the youth league are quite clear that we have agreed to have him as our life president. We don't foresee ourselves siding with anyone else other than President Mugabe even if we are to have seven extraordinary congresses in a year. We have a position that with or without a congress, the youth league's position is clear, that President Mugabe is for life. Those who might wish to be future presidents, they can only wish to do so after President Mugabe. As long as President Mugabe is still alive, he will continue to rule us. At the same time, we are the majority in this country as the youths and we must be the ones calling the shots. If the majority is comfortable with his leadership, who are you then to say you don't want him to continue being the president? The majority has spoken and we represent the majority. The minority have a right to say what they want but what carries the day is the voice of the youths.

OM: What if he says he wants to step down and leave office for someone?

KC: Assuming that the president says he wants to step down and wants to pave way for someone, we will maintain our position that as long as he is still alive, he must be our president. We will go out of our way even if it means to approach the Constitutional Court to compel him to represent us. We are prepared to go that route because we have our constitutional rights to be represented by someone of our own choice. President Mugabe has never said he wants to lead, it was always the people saying Robert Mugabe take this position. If he says he no longer wants to lead us, we will feel as if he is infringing our rights, hence, we will be forced to approach the ConCourt. The same manner he was compelled to proclaim election dates in 2013, we will also take the same route so that he continues to lead us.

OM: Have police managed to establish the cause of the fire that gutted your house in January?

KC: Police haven't come back to me officially to advise me about their findings and at the same time, I am not sure whether they are obliged to come and report to me about their findings. I don't know how they operate.

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