Zvamaida Murwira Senior Reporter
Zanu-PF will meet soon to review the membership of former party first secretary and president Mr Robert Mugabe following his political activities that saw him being involved in the formation of a new opposition outfit, the New Patriotic Front (NPF), a senior official has said.
Zanu-PF Secretary for Legal Affairs Cde Paul Mangwana yesterday said Mr Mugabe risked losing his Zanu-PF membership, constitutional privileges and respect for dabbling in opposition politics.
A fortnight ago, Mr Mugabe met Brigadier-General Ambrose Mutinhiri (Retired), who fronts the NPF, at his Blue Roof mansion in Borrowdale, Harare, where they discussed the formation of the party, an outfit drawing membership mainly from members of the vanquished G40 cabal.
Cde Mangwana said the national Constitution did not allow a former Head of State and Government to dabble in active politics.
He said Zanu-PF would have to meet to consider Mr Mugabe’s legal status in light of the new development where he was involving himself in opposition politics and issuing statements that cast aspersions on the new dispensation led by President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Last week, Mr Mugabe told a select group of local and foreign journalists that the new Government led by President Mnangagwa was illegitimate, despite him tendering his resignation ahead of imminent impeachment on November 21 last year.
This subsequently saw the Zanu-PF Extraordinary Congress replacing him with President Mnangagwa.
Cde Mangwana said Mr Mugabe risked losing his zanu-PF membership and the privileges he was enjoying as a former head of state and government.
“In the fullness of time, Zanu-PF will have to meet to discuss these new developments about the former Head of State and Government to review whether it is still necessary or not for him to continue enjoying the status we had given him,” he said.
“Ordinarily, a former president should play a father figure role and should not join active politics, particularly opposition politics.
“The party will have to decide. If the party is satisfied that he has violated that principle, he will lose his Zanu-PF membership, he will also lose the privileges and immunities accorded to a (former) Head of State and forfeits the respect he was enjoying.”
Asked if Mr Mugabe was not allowed to exercise his right to freedom of association by supporting a political party of his choice, Cde Mangwana said the Constitution had to be read holistically.
“There are no absolute rights,” he said.
“The Constitution confers people rights, but the same supreme law can take away those same rights in certain circumstances. Life, for example, is a right, but the Constitution provides situations where one can lose that right to life.”
Zanu-PF secretary for information and publicity Cde Simon Khaya Moyo said President Mnangagwa had made a pronouncement regarding the conduct of Mr Mugabe.
“A few days ago, His Excellency President Mnangagwa was clear regarding that issue,” said Cde Khaya Moyo, who is also acting Minister of Information, Media and Broadcasting Services.
“I would not want to say anything given that our President has made a pronouncement.”
President Mnangagwa said Mr Mugabe was “entitled to express himself freely as is the case for any private citizen”, but he should realise the nation had since moved on.
Zanu-PF Matabeleland North provincial chairperson Cde Richard Moyo said Mr Mugabe had destroyed the 37 years legacy that he had built by hobnobbing with opposition politics.
“The new development is sad because we have supported him for the past 37 years,” he said. “If what we are reading is true, then he would have expelled himself from the party. As a province, we condemn him.”
Midlands provincial chairperson Cde Daniel Mackenzie Ncube said Mr Mugabe should be fired from the party for making “reckless statements”.
“As Midlands province, we condemn this kind of behaviour from a person whom we had reposed a lot of respect,” he said. “If he continues making such reckless statements we recommend that he be fired from the party just like his wife.”
Masvingo provincial chairperson Cde Ezra Chadzamira said the province was surprised by Mr Mugabe’s conduct.
“We no longer have that respect we used to give him as a father figure,” he said. “Younger generations have nothing to learn from that. He should be fired. No person is bigger than the party.”
In his interview, Mr Mugabe said he will support the NPF if it promoted what he said were “the ruling party’s values”.
“The NPF, any party that is for democracy has my support and the NPF has come to me and said they want to work towards correcting the present unconstitutionality and all the hypocrisy that is being said, we want that to go.”