RETURNING Zanu-PF liberation stalwart, Rugare Gumbo, pictured, has implored President Emmerson Mnangagwa to join hands with the opposition and other social formations to end the country’s deepening political and economic crises.
Speaking in an interview with the Daily News yesterday, Gumbo – the only surviving member of Zanu-PF’s liberation struggle Dare chimurenga (War Council) – said Mnangagwa and the ruling party needed to engage with the opposition and civil society groups in the interest of the country.
This comes as Zimbabwe is in the grip of a ginormous economic crisis, its worst in a decade, which has stirred restlessness among long-suffering citizens.
Gumbo’s call also comes as more and more people – including senior Zanu-PF bigwigs – have been calling for the formation of a government of national unity (GNU) to end the country’s myriad challenges.
“This (dialogue and unity) is something that some of us have always believed in, because the country is facing many difficult challenges.
“The economy is not performing well and we are also faced with the Covid-19 pandemic.
“There is, therefore, a need to put our heads together as Zimbabweans – all political parties, intellectuals and churches, among other stakeholders,” Gumbo told the Daily News.
“A transitional mechanism is the most ideal way forward, and what is needed is wide stakeholder consultations to come up with the modalities of how that can be implemented.
“We can blame individuals for the failure to steer the country forward, but when we want solutions we have a collective responsibility,” he added.
Speaking to the Daily News in October last year, Gumbo also made a similar call when he urged Mnangagwa and Nelson Chamisa to hold talks to save the country from imploding.
“When you are facing challenges like this economic turmoil you need unity. Unity doesn’t mean a structure like Polad (Political Actors’ Dialogue), as that’s not the way to do it.
“We are going nowhere … without Chamisa and Mnangagwa. Zanu-PF on its own cannot solve the current crisis. This crisis needs all Zimbabweans to come together.
“Unity will unlock so much support from the international community. It will also create a conducive environment for investment and people will start to say these people are serious,” Gumbo told the Daily News then.
“Most of these people in Zanu-PF never went to war and they don’t know that the crisis will not be solved by propaganda,” the affable war veteran added.
This comes as the country’s economic crisis continues to deepen, amid growing public disenchantment with the trajectory that Zimbabwe remains locked in.
Two years after the country held historic elections, Zimbabwe finds itself in the vice grip of a deteriorating economic crisis which has seen the Zim dollar crashing against the United States dollar, barely a year after it was surprisingly brought back by the government.
Only recently, the government all but signalled a return to dollarisation after under-pressure Finance minister Mthuli Ncube awarded civil servants and pensioners allowances in US dollars.
The decision came as the country’s economy is rapidly approaching the horrors of a decade ago when the Zim dollar was decimated by hyperinflation – with the prices of most basic consumer goods now out of the reach of ordinary citizens.
Then, Zimbabwe binned its worthless currency and introduced the multi-currency system which was anchored by the US dollar.
Despite this system has served the country well for more than a decade, Ncube rattled the markets in June last year when he prematurely and ill-advisedly ended the local use of the US dollar and other foreign currencies.
He directed at the time that the Zim dollar be the sole legal tender in the country, without addressing the root causes of its crash and subsequent decimation by hyperinflation in the run-up to the consummation of the 2009 short-lived but stability-inducing GNU.
Meanwhile, and regarding his return to Zanu-PF, Gumbo said contrary to what the ruling party’s acting spokesperson Patrick Chinamasa had said, he had not applied to rejoin the party but was “invited back”.
“I have not been informed officially except that Chinamasa called me to confirm.
“I told him that it is not possible for me to have applied to join Zanu-PF because I came a long way from the formation of this party into the liberation struggle.
“I was forced out by (the late former president Robert) Mugabe and there is no way I can apply to rejoin,” Gumbo told the Daily News yesterday.
“I understand the Midlands Province recommended to the politburo that I will be allowed back, but to say I applied is wrong.
“However, if the province feels I must come back, that is not a problem. I wait to get an official communication from them,” he added.
Chinamasa confirmed Gumbo’s readmission on Saturday saying this development would strengthen Zanu-PF.
“The Zanu-PF Midlands Province has recommended the re-admission of Rugare Gumbo, a former member of the Dare ReChimurenga following his application to re-join the party.
“There is no doubt that the party, being the oldest political organisation founded by the people for the people, would welcome Gumbo heartily back to the revolutionary family he helped to found and to which he was part of at a senior level in the prosecution of the liberation struggle,” Chinamasa said.
Gumbo was in 2014 hounded out Zanu-PF together with other party stalwarts – including former vice president Joice Mujuru and former Cabinet minister and the party’s then secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa – over fabricated allegations of plotting to oust Mugabe from power.
Mujuru unsuccessfully tried to enter opposition politics following her sacking and has since gone quiet, amid claims that she has quit politics.
On his part, Mutasa has also been re-admitted back into Zanu-PF.