- Published on 13 May 2013
PROMINENT academic and self-professed Zanu PF supporter Ibbo Mandaza has said President Robert Mugabe was being blocked from stepping down by the country's securocrats who have allegedly taken over control of Zanu PF.
Mandaza also ruled out the possibility of a June poll, saying both Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai were against holding elections anytime this year as their respective parties were blighted by reports of factionalism.
Addressing journalists at a Zimbabwe National Editors' Forum meeting in Harare on Saturday, Mandaza, who also chairs a local think-tank, Southern African Political Economy Series (Sapes) Trust, said Mugabe had lost control of his party and was being held hostage by top security chiefs who want him to remain in office to protect their personal interests.
"What Guy Scott (Vice-President of Zambia) said about Mugabe being tired and wanting to quit is quite true, but he can't hand over power because he is now a hostage of his own system," said Mandaza, who co-founded the Simba Makoni-led Mavambo/Kusile/Dawn (MKD) party in 2008 before he crossed the floor again to rejoin Zanu PF after the party failed to unseat Mugabe.
"Reports that he wanted to hand over power to (MDC-T leader) Morgan Tsvangirai were true, but if he had done it or if he does it, he will be killed."
Top security chiefs have vowed not to salute Tsvangirai in the event that he wins the forthcoming elections with Zimbabwe Defence Forces Commander General Constantine Chiwenga being recently quoted describing the MDC-T leader as "a psychiatric patient and sell-out".
Others include Police Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri, Zimbabwe Prison Service Commissioner-General Paradzai Zimondi and Zimbabwe National Army Major-General Douglas Nyikayaramba.
Added Mandaza: "We are killing each other out there as you have seen with the demise of Rex (Solomon Mujuru). Everyone in Zanu PF was afraid when he died, even Mugabe. This is because we live in a sick society with a history of violence which dates back to the 1960s when the likes of (former Zanu PF chairman) Herbert Chitepo was killed (in 1975) by ourselves," said Mandaza.
Retired General Mujuru died in a mysterious inferno at his farm in 2011.
"Mavambo was a desperate thing crafted after we realised nobody was prepared to tell Mugabe to go. We used Simba Makoni to try and stop Mugabe from contesting in 2008 and force him to step down. The project was backed by the late Solomon Mujuru.
"The long and short of it is that there are no elections in 2013," he said, pointing out that Parliament still had to align laws to the new constitution, making polls in June or July impossible.
He said it was highly unlikely that the country would hold elections in August, as this clashed with the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) general assembly to be co-hosted by Zimbabwe and Zambia.
"So you see, August is out of the picture because we will be hosting the UNWTO. Again September is out because of the UN General Council. (in New York) Mugabe loves attending the UN General Council, he will not let this chance pass."
Mandaza said October and November were highly improbable because the months marked the start of the farming season and people were likely to shun elections in those months.
"Why should he (Mugabe) want elections when he can hang in there? In any case, it is unfair for some people in Zanu PF to push an 89-year-old to stand in an election in which he is uncertain of winning. It is very unfair."
Presidential spokesperson George Charamba's mobile phone went unanswered while Zanu PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo could not be reached for comment yesterday.
The party's secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa declined to comment, saying he was taking a breather. "Today is a Sunday, I don't discuss business on Sundays," Mutasa said.