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Factional wars turn nasty


Zanu PF Midlands factional infighting reached fever pitch last week after national party spokesperson Rugare Gumbo reportedly ejected Mberengwa district party commissar Godwill Shiri from a three-day commissariat workshop held at the party’s headquarters in Harare.

Shiri is allegedly aligned to a faction led by former Midlands provincial governor July Moyo.

Both Moyo and Gumbo are reportedly jostling for a senatorial seat in Mberengwa.

The workshop, which started on Thursday, ended on Friday last week.

Party cadres who witnessed the incident interpreted it as a culmination of the deep-seated factional clashes between Gumbo and Moyo.

Moyo is believed to belong to a faction led by Defence minister Emmerson Mnangagwa while Gumbo allegedly belongs to a faction formerly led by the late Solomon Mujuru.

Both Gumbo and Mnangagwa are fighting for recognition as the most senior and influential politicians in the province.

Sources said when Midlands Province held its provincial co-ordinating committee meeting on February 4, Gumbo tried to get Shiri expelled on the grounds that he took part in the 2005 elections as an independent candidate, but the move was shot down.

“Shiri was representing the district at the workshop and now that he has been kicked out, the district is no longer represented,” said a party insider.

“Gumbo wants to use the technicality that Shiri contested as an independent candidate in 2005 resulting in his expulsion from the party.

“However, in the run-up to the 2008 presidential run-off poll, the party gave a directive to readmit all expelled party members and Shiri came back to the party.

“He has served a term as secretary for information at district level, and last year was elected district commissar.”

The source said Gumbo tried to raise Shiri’s case at the last provincial co-ordinating committee meeting where senior party officials, including Mnangagwa, attended, but was told Shiri was a genuine member.

“We were shocked to learn that he kicked out Shiri from the workshop,” the source added.
Shiri yesterday confirmed that he was ejected from the workshop.

“I attended the workshop yesterday (Thursday), but today (Friday) I was barred from attending the workshop.

“I am a genuine party member who in my previous term served under Cde Gumbo when I was district secretary for information.

“I was shocked when I was removed, but I have nothing against Cde Gumbo.

“I was representing the people of Mberengwa and now that I was removed they are no longer represented,” Shiri said.

Zanu PF chief whip Joram Gumbo, who claimed to be the most senior Zanu PF central committe member from Mberengwa, said he was shocked by Shiri’s ejection from the workshop.

“Shiri was expelled from the party, but was readmitted in 2008.

“He was in the information and publicity department and served under Gumbo (Rugare).

“He was there at the party’s conference last year.

“If Shiri was wrongly admitted after the party made a national directive, then the whole DCC (district co-ordinating committee) should step down. Politburo and central committee members from the district should also step down for a new selection of members,” Gumbo said.

But Rugare Gumbo yesterday dismissed allegations the action was triggered by factional fighting.

“That is not the issue. The issue is that he (Shiri) expelled himself from the party in 2005.

“He has not written to the politburo seeking readmission as is required as per party procedure.The politburo has to decide whether or not he is reinstated and that is the procedure Shiri has not done.

“The same thing happened with the likes of (the late Edgar) Tekere, Professor Jonathan Moyo and (Phillip) Chiyangwa,” Gumbo said.

“Anyone can compete with me. No one from Mberengwa should be barred from contesting; the people will select the person whom they want. I know some people will want to blow things out of proportion.”

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