Former President Robert Mugabe’s nephew, Patrick Zhuwao, one of the kingpins behind the National Patriotic Front, has dangled cash to NPF leader Ambrose Mutinhiri to step down as one of the 23 presidential candidates in next month’s election and give way to Movement for Democratic Change Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa.
He said Mutinhiri must accept the reality that the two leading contenders in the coming elections are Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front leader Emmerson Mnangagwa and Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa.
To achieve the NPF goal of reversing the 15 November “coup”, it was essential to rally behind Chamisa.
“Sunungurayi vana mukuru,” Zhuwao said.
“Given this reality, allow me to conclude General by saying that the overall objective of reversing the coup cannot be achieved by denying Chamisa the NPF vote and handing a victory to Mnangagwa on a silver platter. The ‘next best’ way of reversing the coup is to support the candidature of Nelson Chamisa. By supporting Chamisa, it is possible to reverse the coup. That, General, is politics; that is the art of the possible, the attainable; the art of the next best.”
Zhuwao said Mutinhiri should step down because the NPF failed to get enough candidates for the coming elections. He was therefore finding it difficult to convince donors to sponsor the party.
“For any political party’s presidential bid to be credible, it must be supported by a full complement of 60 senatorial candidates, 210 candidates for constituency members of the National Assembly, 60 candidates for the women’s quota members of the National Assembly, 80 candidates for Provincial Council, and 1 958 candidates for local authority councilors,” Zhuwao said.
“Such a strong representation effectively means there would be someone campaigning in all parts of the country for that party’s presidential candidate.
“The results of the nomination courts on 14th June 2018 are not good for the NPF. NPF only managed to field candidates in 95 out of 210 constituencies covering 45% of the country; nominated 20 out of 60 senators to give a third; 15 of the possible 80 provincial councillors making it 18.75%; 14 of the 60 women’s quota to give 23.3%; and 78 out of the 1,958 councillors to make a paltry 3.98%.”
Zhuwao said because of this the NPF did not have the ground force to sustain a successful presidential bid.
“As I have engaged with well-wishers and potential donors willing to consider offering resources to the NPF, that reality has been glaringly pointed out. Most people that have sufficient resources to contribute to any campaign are usually gifted with the capacity to conduct dispassionate and objective analyses. Such analyses invariably invite the conclusion that it is futile to contribute to the NPF presidential campaign,” he said.
“However, there is a glimmer of hope in that some well-wishers and donors would like to support NPF legislators and councillors. These well-wishers and donors are willing to contribute resources for NPF’s parliamentary and local authority campaign. For these well-wishers to have the comfort that their contributions are channelled to the parliamentary and local authority campaign, they think NPF’s presidential candidate should withdraw.”
Zhuwao, however, said the more important reason for Mutinhiri to step down was that he would not win but would split the votes leading to a run-off which he said would be a recipe for disaster.
“General, you and I know that a run-off where one of the contestants is an incumbent who rose through a military coup would be a recipe for disaster that would make 2008 pale into insignificance. We will die like flies this time. DDT will be used again,” he said.
Mutinhiri broke ranks with his colleagues when he refused to join the MDC Alliance and was fired as party leader but he in turn expelled those who had fired him.
Zhuwao and his colleague Jonathan Moyo were behind those that fired Mutinhiri, so it is not clear whether the candidates that Zhuwao said are contesting under the NPF ticket are behind Mutinhiri or the other faction now led by Eunice Sandi Moyo.
Chamisa is reported to have rebuffed overtures by former President Robert Mugabe or his wife Grace, who are believed to be behind the NPF, to work with him.
Reports say Chamisa was also warned by former South African President Jacob Zuma not to associate with Mugabe.