Tuesday, 21 November 2017


FORMER War Veterans minister Tshinga Dube will go down in history as one person who fired warning shots to President Robert Mugabe that the succession issue needed to be resolved urgently — but to his dismay, the issue was regarded as taboo in his political party, Zanu PF.

Dube told NewsDay that he had been studying the chaotic situation in the party and had a premonition of disaster and raised the red flag saying there would be catastrophe if Mugabe did not appoint a successor urgently.

Apart from being a revered war veteran, Dube, who is also Zanu PF’s Makokoba MP in the National Assembly, is a retired Zimbabwe National Army colonel.

“As an experienced person, I was always studying the succession issue as it unfolded in Zanu PF, and yes, I could indeed foresee political disturbances if the succession issue is not resolved such as what is currently happening in the country,” Dube said.

“I could see that serious problems were coming, and I remember that at one time, I even warned them (the ruling party) saying there are going to be problems.”

Sometime this year, Dube courted controversy when he openly suggested that it was high time Mugabe appointed a successor, but his suggestion was ignored and even cost him his ministerial post.

“If you remember well, I am not the only one who held the opinion that there is need for a succession plan. There are others in the party who were also of the opinion that Mugabe must groom someone to succeed him,” he said.

“I am not going to use the word appoint, because when I made the suggestion I actually said he must groom someone. Appointing someone is different from grooming them because you can appoint someone who does not have the right qualities.”

The ruling party legislator said in some countries, it is almost predictable who takes over or who becomes the next leader.
“This helps in that it prevents unnecessary surprises such as what is happening now, which may be very unpleasant. We must be able to scrutinise people to see who is capable and is able to help the people of Zimbabwe from the political, economic and social quagmire,” he said.

Dube said if his calls for grooming a successor had been heeded, Zimbabwe would have been able to avoid the political and constitutional crisis that it is in now.

“We do not want to be a country that ends up like Uganda during the era of the (late) dictator Idi Amini,” he said.
On the issue of what really drives him to damningly speaks his mind, Dube said he simply believed in telling the truth even when it hurts.

“It is not costly to tell the truth, but I have found out that in this country there are some people who do not want to be told the truth, and others who do not want to say the truth. They would rather keep what they want to say to themselves because of fear. I may not always be correct, but I believe in telling the truth,” he said.

Dube highlighted that his background in the army and as a freedom fighter made him a diligent and disciplined person.
“I learnt to sacrifice for the good of the people. It was actually our breakfast, lunch and supper to ensure that our people are happy. That is the passion that I have developed,” he said.

Asked if the rumours that he was all along in the Zanu PF faction affiliated to former Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa, Dube responded: “The fact is that there are no political party cards with the Lacoste name. The only party card that people carry is that of Zanu PF. People will always try to associate others with something. It is not you who decides what people think of you. I have never carried any other political party card except that of Zapu led by the late Vice-President Joshua Nkomo. Later I carried a Zanu PF card after the Unity Accord.”

Zapu and Zanu merged in 1987 as part of a peace settlement after the Gukurahundi civil war that claimed thousands of lives in Midlands and Matabeleland provinces soon after independence in 1980.

Dube said he was unfazed by the fact that he was fired as War Veterans minister because a ministerial post is not a profession.

“I was a Minister of War Veterans for only two years and now I am back to my role as an ordinary MP. I do not think being a minister must be a profession. It is just an appointment, but if you are fired you still remain the same person that you were before. It is unfortunate that some people think that you have to be a minister all your life. I must say that I am very happy in my role as an MP and time will tell what my future will be. I am now focused on leaving a legacy in my constituency,” he said.

Dube said he has always been a truthful person to the extent that when he said ousted war veterans leader Christopher Mutsvangwa was the legitimate leader, people misunderstood him.

“This was during the time when there were differences among war veterans and my stance was that Mutsvangwa was legally elected by war veterans. I always say that you do not change laws to suit your gains. Do not change laws because you are in a game where you want to win. When others suggested that I must boot him out, I refused,” he said.

One of Dube’s controversial statements was when he said that Zimbabweans are docile during the parliamentary pre-budget conference held in Victoria Falls recently. He said Zimbabweans had suffered a lot; sleeping at bank queues, and experiencing other economic and social ills without taking action.

“I said that during a parliamentary discussion and so I was protected by the Parliamentary Privileges Act. I will not further explain that issue outside Parliament,” he said.

He, however, said the country had been in stagnation for a long time without infrastructural development while other poorer countries around Zimbabwe were developing economically.

“We should now work very hard to move our country forward and ensure our young people are gainfully employed. I think there is still time to stabilise the country and I am sure things will work out. We only need to make sure the person who will lead the country is a true expression of the will of the people,” Dube said.

In 2018, Dube said he would contest the Makokoba constituency if the people feel they still want him. If people feel otherwise, Dube said he would quietly go and do other things like assisting the elderly, which is one of his passions. Newsday


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