Fresh Zanu PF purges looming
HARARE – A fresh wave of savage purges is once again looming in President Robert Mugabe’s post-congress Zanu PF which continues to be wracked by debilitating factional and succession wars.
Well-placed sources told the Daily News yesterday that more senior party officials, including Cabinet ministers and veteran legislators — who were suspected to be close to former Vice President Joice Mujuru, as well as embattled current VP Emmerson Mnangagwa — were facing the chop.
A central committee member, who requested anonymity for fear of victimisation, said party hardliners were strongly of the view that expelling Mujuru’s perceived allies and others aligned to Mnangagwa would provide “a timely and sufficient deterrent” to all members that crossing the paths of influential bigwigs — mainly those associated with First Lady Grace Mugabe and the party’s ambitious Young Turks, the Generation 40 (G40) group — would not be tolerated.
However, the mooted stern action was allegedly making Mugabe and apparently Grace herself “decidedly unease” as this would mean a continuing lack of unity and cohesion in the divided party, which they thought would follow Mujuru’s political decapitation late last year.
“The national disciplinary committee (NDC) has been directed to speedily deal with all pending disciplinary cases because some of the individuals are being suspected of either creating another faction in the party or continuing to associate with Mujuru,” a politburo member who also asked not to be named for fear of victimisation told the Daily News.
Among the senior party officials who were facing the dreaded chop were the likes of Primary and Secondary Education minister Lazarus Dokora, suspended Chipinge legislator Enock Porusingazi, his Kwekwe Central counterpart, Masango Matambanadzo, and former Health deputy minister Paul Chimedza.
The Zanu PF NDC is chaired by Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko. Its other members include Grace (Secretary for Women’s Affairs), Pupurai Togarepi (Secretary for Youth Affairs) and combative Local Government minister Saviour Kasukuwere, who is also the party’s national political commissar.
The NDC has this year alone also dealt with more than 100 other disciplinary cases, many of which have resulted in expulsions and suspensions after the people concerned were fingered in the alleged and murky Mujuru plot to oust Mugabe from power, and to assassinate the frail nonagenarian.
“The cases of the people who are appearing before the NDC this time were not finalised earlier in the year because the party felt dealing with them as a group then would trigger massive resignations which would have been an embarrassment.
“So, it was decided that they would be followed up later for culling individually, at an opportune time”, another source told the Daily News last night.
One of the officials who is set to appear before the NDC said “it is actually a relief to be heard by the disciplinary committee”, rather than continue to “be killed through suspicion, rumour and innuendo”.
“I would be happy to give my side of the story. This idea of being accused of a crime without being asked to defend yourself is primitive. I hope I will be able to tell my whole side of the story,” he said.
However, he added, the recent expulsion of Muzarabani South MP, Christopher Chitindi, from the Zanu PF Mashonaland Central executive last weekend, signalled that “the storm is still heavy and yet to pass”.
Chitindi’s name had long been associated with the Mujuru camp, and last year the provincial coordinating committee recommended his suspension from the party although he survived somehow.
He was eventually shown the exit door last week on allegations of being “unrepentant”, as well as allegedly undermining the authority of Kasukuwere who also hails from Mashonaland Central.
Both Kasukuwere and party spokesperson Simon Khaya Moyo were not available yesterday to comment on the progress that the national disciplinary committee is making in dealing with the cases before it.
But Mashonaland Central Zanu PF chairperson, Dickson Mafios, told the Daily News that his province was in the process of finalising resolutions that it made last week to expel some party officials.
“We have not finished with what we are doing, so I cannot tell you much now. Once we are done, we will let you know by way of a public statement,” Mafios said.
Another insider also added that the axe was also hovering over the provincial minister for Mashonaland Central, Martin Dinha, amid allegations that he was hobnobbing with the Mujuru camp while “feigning love” for Grace.
In Masvingo, former provincial chairman Kallisto Gwanetsa, Cabinet minister Dzikamai Mavhaire and prominent party member Claudius Makova were among a host of others who were also apparently being targeted for expulsion.
Following Zanu PF’s damp squib “elective” congress late last year, several party stalwarts, including war veterans, were forced out of the party in brutal purges that also claimed the scalps of former secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa, former spokesperson Rugare Gumbo, and former minister Kudakwashe Bhasikiti.
The stalwarts are now on the verge of launching a rival formation, the “original” Zanu PF which uses the slogan People First.
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