‘Mugabe has walked roughshod over everyone,’ says Tsvangirai

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Harare – Morgan Tsvangirai, the president of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), said on Wednesday he was worried about stability in Zimbabwe following the axing of of Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Tsvangirai was talking to the SABC from Johannesburg where he is resting after treatment for his cancer.
“This is a dramatic experience for the country. It’s one thing to dismiss the vice president but it’s another when it affects the stability of the country. This is a security risk. …Robert Mugabe is determined to keep power by whatever means.”
He said he was concerned that first lady Grace Mugabe could move into the vice president’s position. “This is a dynasty arrangement. Mugabe has walked roughshod over everyone…If the nation has to take the route for unconstitutional change, we may as well kiss the democratic project goodbye. I hope those who want unconstitutional change will be dissuaded from that.”

President Mugabe said on Wednesday the route to leadership was long and full of “pitfalls and death”, as he accused his fired deputy and former protege of showing impatience in his bid to succeed him.

Addressing supporters at the headquarters of his Zanu-PF party in Harare, 93-year-old Mugabe accused Emmerson Mnangagwa of consulting witchdoctors and prophets as part of a campaign to secure the presidency.

Mnangagwa, who was sacked by Mugabe on Monday and expelled from the ruling Zanu-PF party on Wednesday, said he had fled Zimbabwe because of death threats and was safe.

“My sudden departure was caused by incessant threats on my person, life and family by those who have attempted before through various forms of elimination including poisoning,” he said in a statement on Wednesday.

The head of the influential war veterans association, Chris Mutsvangwa, said that Mnangagwa, 75, would travel to Johannesburg in neighbouring South Africa “very soon”.

Mugabe said Mnangagwa, nicknamed “Crocodile”, had made the same mistakes as Joice Mujuru, who was the president’s deputy for 10 years until she was fired in 2014.

“You should not try to say because the journey is long, then I should take a short cut to arrive quickly. The road has lions. There are pitfalls. There is death, beware,” he said.

“There is no short cut to being the leader of the people. Just as there was no short cut to our independence.”

ZANU-PF would move to discipline Mnangagwa’s “co-conspirators”, Mugabe added.

Mnangagwa has not been seen in public since his dismissal from government but his ally Mutsvangwa said he was “safe and beyond the reach of the assassins”.

Mutsvangwa ruled out trying to remove Mugabe by force and said war veterans, who had publicly backed Mnangagwa and broke ranks with the president last year, would form a broad front with the opposition in elections next year.

“We don’t want to abuse the military to resolve a political problem. We don’t want them to become the arbiter of political power,” Mutsvangwa said.

He was critical of Mugabe’s wife Grace, who looks set to become vice president after a special Zanu-PF congress in December. “This is a coup by marriage certificate ….and it will be resisted,” he said. – IOL