The drama surrounding the Zanu PF Matabeleland North chairmanship took another twist at the weekend when the province selected provincial governor Sithokozile Mathuthu as acting chairperson ignoring the appointment of former chairperson Headman Moyo by party commissar Webster Shamu in November last year.
Moyo was appointed after the suspension of Zwelitsha Masuku from the position for allegedly acting outside party regulations.
The province has been without a substantive chairperson since November 2010 when war veteran Zenzo Ncube was dethroned.
However, party insiders said the drama around the provincial chairmanship was a culmination of the fight between Mines minister Obert Mpofu and Zanu PF national chairman Simon Khaya Moyo over control of party structures.
Although party insiders are convinced there is a fight between the two, Khaya Moyo told NewsDay there was no such feud between him and Mpofu.
Saturday’s meeting was attended by political heavyweights who included Vice-President John Nkomo, Small to Medium Enterprises minister Sithembiso Nyoni, Bulawayo governor and resident minister Cain Mathema and Mpofu.
Provincial party spokesperson Jonathan Mathuthu confirmed his wife’s appointment as acting chairperson to the State media on Saturday.
“Mathuthu is the one who is holding the leadership of Matabeleland North now as we are still resolving the issue of chairmanship in the province,” he said.
However, party insiders said the province had also agreed on holding elections for a substantive chairperson on April 21.
“The time was given to give allowance for Masuku’s case to be dealt with. It was resolved that a letter be written to the national executive to speedily deal with Masuku’s issue as it had taken a lot of time,” said a party insider.
The province was initially meant to hold the elections for a substantive chairperson on Saturday.
“Things changed following the barring of Masuku from taking part in the elections. It came as a shock to many when Khaya Moyo wrote Masuku a letter last Wednesday prohibiting him, yet nothing had been done about the matter since his suspension in November last year,” said a party insider.
According to the sources, Khaya Moyo wrote Masuku the letter barring him from taking part in any party activities.
Zanu PF insiders in the province said this fuelled speculation that he was fighting Mpofu’s swelling popularity as Masuku comes from the minister’s Umguza constituency.
The sources said, ordinarily, Zanu PF secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa was the one supposed to write the letter if there was need.