President Mugabe must resign and hand over power to Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa, if there is any hope to “save suffering” Zimbabweans and stop the economy from further collapsing, outspoken Norton legislator, Temba Mliswa has said.
Mliswa made a bold pitch for the Vice-President to immediately succeed 92-year-old Mugabe, claiming only Mnangagwa had the capacity to save both the country and Zanu PF.
“Zanu PF’s solution to the economic problem is for the President to step down and Mnangagwa, who is the most senior, to take over,” he said at a Press conference in Harare yesterday.
“Don’t call me a Mnangagwa person; unless there is someone more senior in Zanu PF than Mnangagwa, then you tell me.
“If Mnangagwa does take over, he is going to stop the bleeding in terms of people suffering. We must be cognisant that the people are suffering.”
Mliswa heaped praises on Mnangagwa, claiming he was the most senior member in Zanu PF and had the capacity to turn around the country’s fortunes.
“Mnangagwa is the central man. He is the strongman of Zanu PF. He has the military supporting him,” Mliswa said.
“He has the war veterans supporting him. As we know, the military is the last line of defence, not the CIO (Central Intelligence Organisation) and not the police.”
Mliswa’s endorsement of the Vice-President may inadvertently place Mnangagwa in Mugabe’s crosshairs, as the President has acted against those who have shown ambition or have been tipped to succeed him.
Former Vice-President Joice Mujuru felt Mugabe’s wrath after she told journalists she was prepared to succeed the veteran leader, as he would not be around for much longer.
War veterans have also openly backed Mnangagwa to succeed Mugabe, but for their troubles, most of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans’ Association executive has been expelled from Zanu PF.
Mliswa’s remarks touched a raw nerve, with Higher Education minister Jonathan Moyo, describing him as a “successionist”.
“This is a successionist fantasy that has all the trappings of a nightmare,” Moyo tweeted.
Earlier, Moyo has been happily tweeting pictures of Mliswa meeting Local Government minister Saviour Kasukuwere yesterday and last week, but was quick to lash out at him for backing Mnangagwa.
Kasukuwere, the Zanu PF commissar, said Mliswa was daydreaming, vowing Mugabe would stay put and had already been endorsed by all the party’s structures to contest the 2018 presidential elections.
“His (Mugabe’s) service is a result of an overwhelming mandate from the people of Zimbabwe,” Kasukuwere said.
An unrestrained Mliswa said Mugabe was responsible for the factional fights within his party and had been able to play educated Zimbabweans against each other for the past 36 years to remain in power. The Norton legislator said he was withdrawing his statement that MDC-T leader, Morgan Tsvangirai should go to hell, insisting he respected the opposition leader.
Mliswa said he was, however, still angry that Tsvangirai, who was billed to be the guest of honour at a victory rally in Norton, had let him down at the last minute.
Mliswa claimed the MDC-T leader pulled out of the rally after seeing pictures of him posing for pictures with Kasukuwere, but the Norton legislator said Tsvangirai should not base his actions on social media.
Mliswa also lashed out at social movements, saying they should forget that they would ever change the political trajectory of the country through demonstrations, because Mugabe’s regime remained unmoved and continued to step up its brutality.
“Zanu PF is in power till 2018. From a constitutional point of view, you cannot oust them from power with a demonstration,” he said.
“So we pray for His Excellency (Mugabe) to have a conscience. We cannot pray for him to die, that’s for God, but for his conscience, so that he steps down.”
There was speculation that the Zanu PF faction loyal to Mnangagwa had campaigned for Mliswa and his statements are likely to reinforce that notion.