Respected Zanu PF elder Cephas Msipa is demanding answers from President Robert Mugabe following the recent vitriolic and sustained attacks on Vice President Joice Mujuru by the First Lady Grace Mugabe.
Msipa, who has already indicated that he fears a split in the 51-year-old movement due to escalating factional and succession battles, told the Daily News yesterday that he was failing to understand why Mugabe was not moving to end the crisis.
“We are meeting as the politburo on Thursday and I hope to be told what this is all about. I just want to know the facts that have led to this, and hopefully find answers,” said Msipa, who was instrumental in brokering the 1987 peace accord between Mugabe and the late veteran nationalist Joshua Nkomo.
During her so-called “Meet the People” rallies, Grace savaged Mujuru. As a result, the two ladies’ relationship is now so frosty that they can no longer look at each other and exchange pleasantries as was observed at the Harare International Airport yesterday.
Analysts say fireworks are expected in the politburo meeting tomorrow, with respected elders like Msipa already having given notice that they will demand answers from fellow politburo members such as Jonathan Moyo, Patrick Zhuwao and Savior Kasukuwere on their role in the current infighting.
At a media briefing in Bulawayo two weeks ago, the trio lambasted Msipa over his warning that Zanu PF could split if the ongoing succession battles were not properly handled.
Describing Msipa’s warning as a “thoughtless proposition”, Moyo said the faction-riddled ruling party would remain united notwithstanding the deadly power struggles involving many senior party officials from different camps, rooting to succeed Mugabe.
Apart from Moyo and Kasukuwere, Mugabe’s nephew Zhuwao also said at the same Bulawayo Press Club function on Tuesday that people like Msipa were opening the floodgates to Zanu PF critics who were predicting the demise of the party.
On the other hand, Kasukuwere, contemptuously dismissed the veteran nationalist, saying: “All those who run around looking for power and thinking they can succeed, they are joking. We are not going to allow that nonsense. Who are you to tell us that Zanu PF will split”.
But Msipa, now happily retired from government, said that while he respected the freedom of expression of others, he was still worried about the state of the party, rather than what was vented out by his critics.
“I will find out their problem when we go to the politburo. But I don’t really worry much about those people.
“They are only generating heat and not light. These people should not use their positions to accuse others,” the former governor of Midlands said last week.
Yesterday, Msipa stuck to his guns and maintained that only Mugabe could end the internecine Zanu PF fights and avoid a possible split.
“I am not worried about what they said and I am going to deal with them in the politburo.
“The good part is that all those people who said this are members of the politburo,” he added.
Moyo, who is also the Media, Information and Broadcasting Services minister, has in the past come under heavy attack from a faction reportedly linked to Mujuru for allegedly using and abusing the State media to denigrate other senior party officials.
Although an incensed Mugabe described Moyo as a “weevil” that is out to destroy Zanu PF from within a few months ago, this did not appear to change the controversial stance of State media in the Zanu PF infighting, with perceptions still lingering in some party quarters that the State media are still reporting on events partially.