Published On: Mon, Nov 21st, 2016

President Mugabe and Didymus Mutasa phone call

 HARARE – Former senior Cabinet minister and now Zimbabwe People First (ZPF) elder, Didymus Mutasa, has confirmed phoning President Robert Mugabe to convey the message that opposition leaders, alarmed by the deteriorating situation in the country, wanted a face-to-face meeting with the increasingly frail nonagenarian.

Mutasa said he had done so after he was tasked by the leaders of the National Electoral Reform Agenda (Nera), a grouping of opposition parties, to engage  President Robert Mugabe on the need for electoral reforms  ahead of the eagerly-anticipated 2018 national polls.

The former close President Mugabe confidante and Presidential Affairs minister spoke after claims by Mugabe during the nonagenarian’s address to war collaborators in Harare at the weekend that his former senior aide had called him on his arrival from a trip to Morocco last week wanting more than just to check on his health and family.

“He is quite right that I called him, but certainly not that I wanted any favours from him. I wanted to convey a Nera message to him and I thought this was between him and me. But since he has let the cat out of the bag, let us deal with it now that it is out there.

“Nera leaders wanted me to follow up on their letter a few months ago in which they requested to meet with Mugabe to demand that his administration reforms the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) before 2018,” Mutasa said.

“Leaders such as VaTsvangirai (opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai), the Transform Zimbabwe leader, Zanu Ndonga and the  African Democratic Party particularly expressed a keen interest in meeting with him as Zanu PF president, just like we have been meeting with Zec.

“They do not want to play hide and seek with him, hence their desire for a face-to-face meeting because things are not right in the country,” he added.

In his weekend address Mugabe had said he suspected that Mutasa was looking for favours from him.

“He asked over my health and that of my family and I in turn asked over his health and that of his family. I also asked over the health of his mother-in-law who I heard was not feeling well.

“I asked if it was all he wanted and he said yes it’s all, but I am not stupid. I know there was something he was looking for,” he said.

But Mutasa said he had chosen to start by asking Mugabe over his health as a “human and ice-breaking move” before he told him what he really wanted.

“I was going to follow up on that call to tell him what I wanted because you don’t go straight into a matter of such significance. I wanted to calm him down first.

“I hope he did not think that I want to go back to Zanu PF because I will never do that unless the party joins Nera and reform itself under Nera, with a leader democratically elected. In that case, I will be able to work with them again, not in its present form,” Mutasa said.

He said Nera had initiated the process to meet Mugabe and to also bring to his attention the poor state of the country’s economy.

The former Zanu PF secretary for administration said Nera leaders also wanted to meet State security chiefs, who were critical in the administration of polls, as they normally campaigned for Zanu PF.




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