FORMER Zanu PF politburo member and Midlands governor, Cephas Msipa has warned that President Robert Mugabe risks “being consumed by unrestrained public anger” if he continues using brute force to crush dissent.
Msipa said at the weekend with the country experiencing a wave of protests over a collapsed economy, the onus was on Mugabe to reach out to his rivals, who are demanding accountability and proper governance, for a truce and abet anarchy.
“This time, Mugabe has to show statesmanship and rise above partisan politics,” he said.
“He has to call his rivals or those opposing him and discuss Zimbabwe. Pride will take Zimbabwe nowhere, but to more suffering. It is not fiction that Zimbabweans are suffering; it is a fact that needs redress
This idea of selfish politics will not help at all. I have travelled and wherever I go, I am asked, is this the Zimbabwe you fought for? It’s not. We never fought for violent protests, we never fought for selfish leadership, but we fought for selfless leadership that puts Zimbabwe ahead of personal interests,” he said.
The former Midlands governor’s warning comes after Mugabe last week threatened vindictive action against opposition leaders and pressure groups, who are piling pressure on him to step down and allow a transitional government to take over.
“The MDC and its supporters are playing a very dangerous game. We also understand that they are planning to terrorise the rural areas in the mistaken belief that they can intimidate and harass our supporters, let them be warned they cannot win the war. They should not cry foul when we go for them,” Mugabe told a Zanu PF central committee meeting last Friday.
Due to a collapsing economy witnessed by rising unemployment, cash crisis and severe food shortages, Zimbabweans have, almost daily, resorted to protest marches demanding improved social delivery.
“The people are not asking for things that are not genuine, they are demanding bread and butter issues and it is up to this government to respond to them rather than send teargas and water cannons,” Msipa said.
“Those things won’t put food on the table, but cause more anger and frustration and turn into more protests. It is up to Mugabe, as a statesman, to call all political parties for dialogue to solve these challenges.”