By Maynard Manyowa (Correspondent)
Harare – A set of pictures depicting ‘sworn’ rivals Minister Saviour Kasukuwere and Norton MP Temba Mliswa have caused up an uproar on social media, amid analysis that the images are a revelation that the latter has ditched opposition and war vets who supported his election bid, and switched allegiances back to Zanu PF, and more specifically the G40 faction.
Picture cozy, Minister Kasukuwere and Temba Mliswa
In the run-up to the Norton By-Election, Mliswa reiterated his accusations of yesteryear, that when he was Saviour Kasukuwere’s personal trainer, the Minister had proposed love to him, before trying to forcibly grope him in a sexually inappropriate manner.
In a video, published by 263 Chat, Mliswa claimed Kasukuwere is / was a gay gangster and that he had grabbed his buttocks. Mliswa was responding to accusations by Kasukuwere that the former had fathered 28 children with 28 women.
Kasukuwere had also stated that Mliswa does not respect his own mother, that he was a problem child of sorts who had extremely violent tendencies.
But the images, which show the two in very cozy, if not nearly compromising positions have cause an uproar with many users accusing Mliswa of pretending to be a reformer only to rejoin Zanu PF.
These concerns were first raised by several analysts and citizens before the by-election, with people asking why the MDC-T, and civil leaders like Patson Dzamara were supporting Mliswa’s bid in Norton, without assurances he would not deflect to Zanu PF once he had won the seat.
Although the official explanation from Minister Kasukuwere was that the pair met to resolve the Kingsdale Housing saga, and challenges facing the Norton Constituency, very few people were readily sold onto that idea.
This follows hot on the heels of the war-veterans re-affirming their support for Zanu PF, with people expressing concerns that opposition and civil society had been lured by ‘pretend reformists’ who would utilize their support to settle Zanu PF factional scores, before deflecting back to the party at the first opportunity.
The comments in the aftermath of the saga seemed to show the concerns that led to the uproar were legitimate. Minister Jonathan Moyo called the developments “politics”, while Minister Kasukuwere responded to questions about his frosty relationship with Temba Mliswa as “matters for the gullible”.
If the responses are anything to go by, the two G40 heavyweights could well be flossing another political gimmick, and a smack in the face of opposition parties, reformists, and civil society.
- Maynard Manyowa is a journalist, and contributing editor of Khuluma Afrika – a center for political analysis, investigative journalism, and social commentary.