Storm over Zanu PF chairman suspension

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The suspension of Zanu PF Matabeleland North acting chairperson Zwelitsha Masuku has sparked an uproar from provincial structures who believe the move was not procedural.

Zanu PF grassroots leaders believe the suspension was a ploy by party national chairman Simon Khaya Moyo to water down the influence of his nemesis, politburo member Obert Mpofu.

Masuku is from Mpofu’s Umguza constituency and is therefore perceived to be loyal to the Mines and Mining Development minister.

The concerns come in the wake of revelations a letter handed to Masuku notifying him of his suspension did not bear the signature of the party’s national secretary for administration, Didymus Mutasa.

When contacted for comment, Mutasa yesterday said he had not received complaints over the matter from the province.

“I have not received any complaints to that effect from the province,” he said.

“If they have any queries, then why have they not contacted me? They know where I am so I do not know why they have not raised the matter with me so I explain to them what happened.”

Masuku was suspended on November 26 during a meeting chaired by Zanu PF national commissar Webster Shamu on allegations of acting outside party regulations.

It also emerged despite being suspended, Masuku was recognised as the acting Matabeleland North provincial chairperson at the Zanu PF annual conference held in Bulawayo early this month. Mpofu and Masuku both declined to comment on the matter when contacted yesterday.

Moyo and Shamu’s mobile phones were not reachable.
But sources from Matabeleland North claim that normally, the provincial co-ordinating committee is the one which suspends members.

“If you were following other cases of suspensions, the province recommends to the national executive that a member be suspended from the party,” said a source.

“In any case on the day Masuku was suspended from his position, most senior party members from the province were not in attendance.

“Only a few were there showing most of the members were not in agreement with what was happening.”
Some members have alleged Moyo hinted Masuku would be suspended when he chaired a provincial meeting before the one by Shamu was held.

“It came as no surprise to some. It seems Moyo is worried about Mpofu’s growing influence in the party’s provincial structures and suspending Masuku, who hails from Nyamandlovu in Mpofu’s Umguza constituency, was seen as a move to block Mpofu’s control.

“Remember in the race to replace the late Vice-President Joseph Msika, Mpofu was said to be interested in the vice-president’s position and later said he would want the chairman’s position if he got the backing of the people.

“That ignited rivalry between the two and with Mpofu’s growing influence in the party structures, Moyo was getting uncomfortable and to an extent felt threatened.”