The line between the party and government has been blurred for much of Zanu-PF’s four-decade-old rule, but analysts say the old guard, overlooked for ministerial posts in President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s new dispensation, wanted more say in State affairs.
At the start of his “second republic”, Mnangagwa moved a number of senior party officials from ministerial positions to Zanu-PF headquarters and kept their ministerial perks intact.
These include Chinamasa, Obert Mpofu, David Parirenyatwa and Simon Khaya Moyo, among others. But now with very little say in how the economy is run, the former ministers have been lobbying for the party to have more say in government affairs.
Chinamasa, who is also the ruling party’s acting spokesperson, told a provincial co-ordinating committee meet-ing (PCC) in Mashonaland East that because Zanu-PF was the party that sponsored the ministers into government, then its interest should be served by anyone appointed by it. Power, Chinamasa argued, resided at Zanu-PF headquarters and the party would not hesitate to pull the plug on anyone who does not conform to its dictates.
“I want to thank the ministers who came here, because these are our ministers in Zanu-PF. They should serve Zanu-PF interests not their own, but Zanu-PF,” he said.
“All the programmes that they are doing, be it fixing the roads and any other works, these are programmes driven by Zanu-PF.”
Chinamasa’s utterances came at a time Finance minister Mthuli Ncube and Lands minister Anxious Masuka last week came under fire over a statement they jointly issued, which most people said was ultra vires the ruling party’s position on land compensation.
The two had to hold a second Press briefing in a week to defend their position that government would compensate indigenous and white farmers whose land was seized during the land reform programme yet it fell under the Bilateral Investment Protection and Promotion Agreement.
They claimed that their move was not tantamount to reversal of the land reform programme.
Chinamasa was forced to also hold a Press conference to support the duo before Mnangagwa also backed them while addressing members of the Political Actors Dialogue on Friday.
The former Finance minister said all government programmes which were funded by all Zimbabweans through tax collections, regardless of political affiliation, should be credited to his party.
“There should be no programme done by government that should be done without Zanu-PF being given credit and being at the forefront,” Chinamasa said.
“We don’t want to hear that you are commissioning a road, yet Zanu-PF does not know when we are the ones who sent you; we are going to construct a dam, then you proceed to build a dam without informing the party.
“It is the party that should get credit for all the work that you do in government, us as Zanu-PF.”
He added: “If you behave and act in that manner, we will not have any problems. All ministers in government should not forget that we sent them there, and we are watching if you are toeing the line of the party. If we see that you are pulling in your own direction, we know what to do.”
At a time the market has self-dollarised, Chinamasa said the local currency remained central to reviving the economy, blasting those demanding to be paid in United States dollars ahead of the weak local currency.
“No country can prosper without its own currency. You will not achieve anything by using other people’s currencies, because if you have your own money, you are the ones who print it, and control how to balance money supply,” he said.
Chinamasa, who was accompanied by Ncube, praised the latter for reintroducing the local currency, saying he (Chinamasa) had failed to make the bold move when he was in the same portfolio.
He, however, conceded that the economy had dollarised, calling it a problem that Ncube should fix.
“Doctors are charging in US dollars, vendors are charging in US dollars, it has made life difficult for people. This should be fixed,” Chinamasa said.
“I have a relative who wanted to visit an optician, to remove a cataract from one eye. They were charging US$800. That needs to be fixed.”