AS ZANU-PF’s internal ructions continue to escalate, suspended youth league official Godfrey Tsenengamu, pictured, has accused President Emmerson Mnangagwa of failing to live up to the promises he made before his late predecessor Robert Mugabe fell from power in late 2017.
This comes as the former liberation movement is once again battling ugly factionalism and tribalism — twin demons that almost completely destroyed the ruling party in the last few years in office of Mugabe, with his erratic wife Grace playing a starring role in the chaos then.
It also comes as the government is facing increasing pressure to end the country’s worsening economic rot, which has triggered restlessness and anger among long-suffering Zimbabweans.
Speaking to the Daily News yesterday, Tsenengamu — who is facing expulsion from Zanu-PF, after his home province of Mashonaland East called for his ouster — threw barbs at Mnangagwa for having allegedly failed to “live up to his promises”.
“I was looking at what the president wrote in November 2017 after he had been expelled. He spoke against party capture, vindictiveness … about ideas of making Zimbabwe great again … and against corruption.
“Where has he gone wrong? Maybe it is premature to judge him because he has been in power for a short period of time.
“But I am worried because he has not delivered on his vision. I am hoping that he will deliver,” Tsenengamu said.
He also said that his recent suspension from Zanu-PF, as well as that of former youth league deputy secretary Lewis Matutu, was also contrary to the promises Mnangagwa made in his 2017 speech while he was in short-lived exile in South Africa, after fleeing from Mugabe and his goons.
“In 2017, we said expulsions were wrong and this is exactly what they (Zanu-PF and the ‘new dispensation’) are doing.
“I have been suspended for a year without a hearing and now they are threatening to expel me, again with no reason.
“If you look at the letter that was written by the president when he was in exile, he spoke against corruption and blasted the former president for pursuing his family interests,” Tsenengamu added.
In November 2017, following his dramatic sacking from both the government and Zanu-PF, Mnangagwa fled to
Pretoria where he stunningly hit back at Mugabe by declaring that he would come back in two weeks to take over both the reins of the country and the ruling party.
“I remain firm and resolute against those who plunder public funds and are used by foreign countries to destabilise the party.
“These same people (ostensibly ‘criminals’ around Mugabe) are brazenly protected in public by the First Lady, thereby making a mockery of our public institutions.
“I stand prepared, once again, to pay the ultimate price in defence of Zimbabwe. I am not afraid of anyone or worried about my political future under the current ‘party capture’ that is being tolerated and condoned by the First Family,” Mnangagwa let rip then.
“I implore all genuine members of Zanu-PF to reject this ‘party capture’ by a few individuals … We must reject this insane and ‘idiotic’ habit of expelling and suspending members of the party merely because we differ in opinion or have brighter and more progressive ideas of improving the lives of our people.
“Let us bury our differences and rebuild a new and prosperous Zimbabwe, a country that is tolerant to divergent views … respects opinions of others … does not isolate itself from the rest of the world because of one stubborn individual who believes he is entitled to rule this country until death,” he said further then.
“We want a country that gives every citizen the opportunity to prosper … takes care of their families, a country that encourages Zimbabweans to invest in their economy and contribute to the development of infrastructure for future generations.
“This is part of my vision for a rejuvenated Zimbabwe and particularly Zanu-PF and as I leave this post for now I encourage all loyal members … to remain in the party to register to vote as we will very soon control the levers of power in our beautiful party and country,” Mnangagwa added.
The 77-year-old Zanu-PF leader was subsequently feted like a king when he replaced Mugabe, following a stunning military coup which was widely celebrated by Zimbabweans, who had had enough of Mugabe’s long and disastrous rule.
However, the worsening economic and political crises consuming the country have raised serious questions about him and his under pressure government’s ability to turn things around.
Meanwhile, Tsenengamu has also snubbed the ruling party’s call for him to attend the Chitepo School of Ideology — saying that would be akin to “legitimising an illegality”.
On Monday, a number of Zanu-PF officials — including Matutu — attended a Chitepo School of Ideology workshop at the party’s headquarters in Harare, but Tsenengamu refused to be part of the re-orientation programme.
“They sent me a letter to attend the ideological school, but I could not go because I did nothing wrong.
“My suspension from Zanu-PF was not done properly. There was no hearing … so I cannot legitimise an illegality.
“I know that the provincial leadership has recommended that I be expelled from the party, but it doesn’t change who I am,” a defiant Tsenengamu told the Daily News.
“I believe what is wrong is wrong. I am not moved by the expulsions. If they want to expel me let them expel me. If they want to take me back, let them do that, but I will not plead.
“When President Mnangagwa named and shamed those who externalised foreign currency no one said ‘it’s not party policy to name and shame’.
“You didn’t say it promotes those with extortionist tendencies and rent-seeking behaviour. You didn’t say he must toe the party line,” Tsenengamu said further.
“You didn’t say he is dividing the party. You didn’t say he must follow procedure. You didn’t suspend him.
“You didn’t say he must attend Chitepo College. You didn’t say he is scaring away investors. You didn’t say he must report to Zacc (the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission).
“You didn’t say he must bring evidence. Why me? You have suspended me from your party, then you insult me, then lie about me, then you intimidate me because I have said there is corruption in the country,” Tsenengamu added.
Tsenengamu, who has since surrendered the Zanu-PF vehicle that he used while he was the party youth secretary for the commissariat is now leading the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Citizens Taskforce, which he recently helped to form.