Former AAG chief defends support of ZANU PF

The former President of the Affirmative Action Group (AAG), Supa Mandiwanzira, has defended the group’s support of ZANU PF, saying they share the same indigenisation objectives.

Supa Mandiwanzira
Supa Mandiwanzira

The AAG, which was founded by Robert Mugabe’s nephew Phillip Chiyangwa, has been described as nothing more than a platform for ZANU PF functionaries to take over businesses, under the guise of ‘affirmative action’. Leading analyst Professor John Makumbe has said the relationship is so intertwined that the AAG “is more or less the business wing of the party.”

Mandiwanzira told SW Radio Africa on Tuesday that the relationship with ZANU PF is rooted in sharing the same goals.

“The AAG supports ZANU PF’s position of black economic empowerment. It would be folly for anyone in the AAG not to support the position of ZANU PF in terms of black economic empower and indigenisation, a position that has been criticised by the MDC-T,” Mandiwanzira said.

ZANU PF has spearheaded the controversial indigenisation campaign, which calls for foreign owned companies to cede 51% of their shareholding to Zimbabweans. The MDC-T, along with many analysts and economists, have warned that the campaign will drive away potential investment and that there is no sign of genuine empowerment in the ZANU PF led campaign.

But Mandiwanzira insisted that the plan reflects the AAG’s own plans for empowerment in Zimbabwe.

“So as a matter of fact and principle, only stupid people would want to support a political party that does not support the objectives of an organisation. As an organisation our objectives are supported by the actions of ZANU PF and this is where the relationship comes in,” Mandiwanzira said.

Mandiwanzira meanwhile dismissed reports that he was involved in a violent altercation with his former AAG colleague, Temba Mliswa, at a meeting on Monday. The meeting was called to discuss the state of affairs of the AAG, after some provincial members passed a vote of no-confidence in the national executive.

Some media reports said Mandiwanzira was left “bloodied” after a physical fight with Mliswa, who voiced a number of allegations against the Mandiwanzira-led executive.

But Mandiwanzira said on Tuesday that there was no physical violence, saying he was “stunned” by the reports.

“I can confirm that there was a heated exchange because I challenged Mr. Mliswa on the allegations he made. These are allegations based on rumour and hearsay and not on any facts, and I warned him very seriously about making allegations that will tarnish other people’s image without the facts to back up the claims,” Mandiwanzira explained.

He added: “Any allegations against me of misuse of funds are simply propaganda and an attempt to tarnish me and my reputation.”

Mliswa had previously raised concerns about misuse of funds and made calls for an investigation. A probe is reported to now be underway, although Mandiwanzira has said this is just a “fact finding mission.”

Mandiwanzira and four national executive members all announced that they were stepping down from the group’s leadership last week. This followed a vote of no-confidence in the executive, apparently because the leadership was sidelining grassroots members.

But Mandiwanzira said there was no vote of no-confidence, and said his decision to resign was because he “did not want to be involved in a side show of power struggles.” – SW Radio Africa

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