Police have been sucked into the power struggles rocking the Zanu PF Bulawayo provincial executive amid revelations senior officers helped ousted chairman Isaac Dakamela to recover car keys that were violently seized by party youths.
Dakamela was on Sunday dismissed from his position following a litany of charges by the party’s provincial coordinating committee (PCC).
On Monday the party’s youths forcibly took his car keys arguing he was no longer in charge.
Yesterday Zanu PF officials claimed the following day provincial police commander Senior Assistant Commissioner Steven Mutamba sent the police officer Commanding Bulawayo Central District, Chief Superintendent Rita Masina, to repossess the keys.
“The youths took the keys to the provincial administrator, Josphat Ndebele, but around 3pm, Masina and a number of police officers came to Davies Hall (Zanu PF provincial headquarters) and first held a meeting with Dakamela before proceeding to demand the keys from Ndebele,” said a party insider.
“Ndebele initially resisted handing over the keys, but Mutamba then called through Masina’s cellphone and ordered him to hand over the keys or face arrest and he relented.”
But Dakamela reportedly failed to move the car from Davies Hall as he feared the youths who were milling outside the premises would stone the vehicle.
“He went away with the keys hoping that in the evening the youths would have dispersed,” said the source.
“However, the youths deflated the vehicle’s tyres so that it could not leave Davies Hall.
“They said they would only heed instructions from party national chairman Simon Khaya Moyo and not the police.” Sources said Zanu PF bigwigs were not happy with Mutamba’s conduct, accusing the senior police officer of interfering in internal party issues.
“For starters, since those premises are guarded by a police officer, why did Mutamba have to send senior officers to come and take away the keys?” complained the source.
“Secondly, there was no violence because if there was, the officer would have alerted others to come, but here the order came from above.
“Even when the keys were taken, there were officers from Police Internal Security and they did not react because there was no violence and we wonder what interest Mutamba has in Dakamela remaining chairperson of the party. He should stick to his police duties and not interfere with our internal politics.”
Masina initially refused to comment on the matter before she referred questions to the police’s Press and liaison office. Contacted for comment, Mutamba dismissed accusations police were interfering in Zanu PF’s internal affairs.
“We received a report from Dakamela that his car keys had been taken by some youths and as police we attended to the matter and the issue was solved amicably,” he said.
Two Zanu PF Politburo members in Bulawayo, Joshua Malinga and Eunice Sandi-Moyo, declined to comment saying they did not discuss party issues in the media.
Malinga said he was not aware of Mutamba’s alleged interference, “but if that is true, what he is doing is wrong”.
“This is an internal party matter.”
Sikhanyiso Ndlovu, who is reportedly the Zanu PF politburo’s point man in Bulawayo, has dismissed Dakamela’s ousting as null and void setting himself on a collision course with other senior party leaders.
Zanu PF insiders indicated the Mutamba issue and that of Ndlovu would be raised at the next politburo meeting.