INFIGHTING in Zanu PF has scaled new heights with party secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa yesterday taking a dig at Presidential spokesperson George Charamba for “jumping the gun” when he by-passed party spokesperson Rugare Gumbo and announced matters outside his mandate.
REPORT BY EVERSON MUSHAVA
Charamba last week announced that the Zanu PF politburo had not yet received results of provincial elections held in Mashonaland Central province.
But Mutasa yesterday said Charamba had no mandate to comment on party issues as that falls under Gumbo’s ambit.
“The way the message was communicated was not proper,” Mutasa said.
Mutasa said Charamba should have gone through Gumbo because the issues at hand concerned the party, adding that the conflicts which then erupted could have been avoided had party protocol been followed.
“I think what Charamba did was deliberate. He is aware of the protocol. How can an issue that affects the party be announced by an editor of a newspaper?”
Charamba yesterday however, insisted he was simply a “messenger” working under instruction from his boss.
“I am a medium and my role is to transmit messages and as a medium, I never seek to be the message,” Charamba said.
“Consequently, my role began and ended with the instruction from the President which I believe I delivered to all the concerned.”
Mugabe is currently on a 10-day State visit to Singapore, Kuwait and Dubai, and is expected back home on November 23.
Charamba and Gumbo last week issued contradictory statements over the provincial elections in Mashonaland Central that were won by Luke Mushore who beat former chairman Dickson Mafios.
Charamba claimed Mugabe had instructed him to convey a message that the politburo would decide on the fate of the disputed elections after receiving a report from the presiding officer, Francis Nhema.
Mafios has disputed the election results claiming that they were announced before other party districts had voted.
Gumbo said the elections and announcement of results were done above board.
Standing in support of Charamba, Media, Information and Broadcasting Services Minister Jonathan Moyo accused Gumbo of contempt against Mugabe, an accusation Gumbo denied. Moyo said the message conveyed by Charamba from Mugabe was the “official position” and that there was no other “executive authority” in Zanu PF higher than Mugabe.
Gumbo, at the weekend fired back and labelled both Moyo and Charamba as “tricksters” embarking on futile attempts to set him on a collision course with Mugabe.
He said he was the party’s official spokesperson and everything Mugabe told Charamba should have been forwarded to him for a formal announcement.
Mutasa yesterday weighed in saying: “There are no contradictions and there is no “war” in Zanu PF. He (Gumbo) was simply criticising the way the information was disseminated. Even President Mugabe knows how he communicates. If it is party business, the message is conveyed through Cde Gumbo. If it is government work, the message will go through Misheck Sibanda (Chief Secretary in Mugabe’s Office).”
Mutasa said Mugabe was a man of principles who wanted democratic principles to govern the party, but was betrayed by the party’s high echelons that was subverting the will of the party’s grassroots structures through selfish pursuits.
“The party, at lower levels, is democratic, but the high echelons are not. People try to force what they want, not what the people want,” Mutasa said.
Zanu PF is sucked in a messy fight by factions vying to take over power from Mugabe who turns 90 next February.
Vice-President Joice Mujuru and Justice minister Emmerson Mnangagwa allegedly lead the feuding factions, although they have both publicly denied harbouring presidential ambitions.
The infighting climaxed last week with officials involved in a public spat over the provincial elections soon after Charamba’s message from Mugabe. Gumbo is believed to be fighting in Mujuru’s corner.
Sources told NewsDay that Mugabe was now worried by the infighting which has seen him being by-passed as faction leaders jostle for control of provinces ahead of the party’s conference in Chinhoyi next month.
Mujuru last week set a team of election coordinators, the majority of whom were believed to be her lieutenants, to supervise the elections in the remaining seven provinces to be held this weekend.
Meanwhile, party chairman Simon Khaya-Moyo has summoned the election coordinators and provincial chairpersons for an urgent meeting at the party’s headquarters today.