PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe yesterday threatened to expose senior Zanu PF officials whom he claimed were burning the midnight oil holding clandestine meetings, applying “dirty tricks” and splashing “dirty money” to influence the outcome of the party’s elective congress in December.
Party spokesperson Rugare Gumbo told journalists after yesterday’s politburo meeting that Mugabe had issued a stern warning against such “indiscipline” among party stalwarts.
This came as Zanu PF national secretary for administration and Presidential Affairs minister Didymus Mutasa declared that he will contest the chairmanship or any higher position in the ruling party presidium provided he was nominated ahead of the December elective congress.
Mutasa, who said he believes in what he called “servant leadership”, told NewsDay that it was up to the party supporters to choose leaders they wanted.
But Gumbo said: “The President expressed concern on those in leadership positions who on a daily basis cherish indiscipline in the party.
“It was apparent that there are some who hold clandestine meetings seeking positions in the party largely because we are going to congress. They use dirty tricks and money to influence the outcome of the congress. The President said he was aware of such people in our mix, some even come to him with their ambitions at congress.”
Gumbo said Mugabe said he knew those people and the interests they would be representing.
However, Mutasa said as a “servant” of Zanu PF, he would be interested in any higher position people wanted him to occupy.
“I’m interested in any position that the party gives me. I’m there to serve the party and if the party feels that I served them well as secretary for administration and want to elevate me to chairmanship, I will accept,” Mutasa said.
Senior Minister in the Office of the President Simon Khaya Moyo, who is currently party national chairman, is likely to be elevated to the position of Vice-President, filling the vacant post previously occupied by the late John Landa Nkomo.
However, Khaya Moyo was likely to face stiff competition from senior PF Zapu officials such as former Ambassador Phelekezela Mpoko, former Senate Deputy President Naison Kutshwekhaya Ndlovu; former minister Ambrose Mutinhiri and Home Affairs minister Kembo Mohadi.
Mutasa also dispelled notions that the Zanu PF national chairman’s position was a preserve of those from PF Zapu insisting that was not contained in the 1987 Unity
Accord signed between Mugabe and late Vice-President Joshua Nkomo.
“That is not true, there is nothing like that in the unity agreement signed by President Mugabe and the late Vice-President Joshua Nkomo,” he said.
Mutasa said as the position had since 1987 been occupied by the former PF Zapu officials, people might have mistakenly taken the precedent to mean that this was part of the contractual agreement.
He said the accord was silent on the position of chairmanship, but very clear on the Vice-President and further. Mutasa also said the accord did not specify which Vice-President as some people believed that it was the Second Vice-President.
Mutasa spoke as fireworks were expected from tomorrow to Saturday during the Mashonaland West provincial conference to choose candidates to second to the national youth and women leagues to be held in two weeks’ time.
Party provincial stalwarts like Mhondoro-Ngezi MP and current Zanu PF national youth political commissar Mike Gava, Hurungwe Senator Stella Boni, women’s national treasurer Tsitsi Mugabe and Jennifer Mhlanga were facing stiff competition.
Gava, who is facing charges of abducting a woman in Kadoma, was facing stiff competition from Lotius Tarusukirwa who seems to be getting support from senior political leaders in the province.
In the Women’s League, Boni will battle it out with self-confessed Grade Two drop-out Mashonaland West “Iron Lady” Sarah Mahoka in Hurungwe.
In Zvimba, Tsitsi Mugabe, the current national treasurer, will get a run for her money when she locks horns with Mary Phiri, while in Manicaland, Zanu PF disqualified a prominent youth figure, Joshua Sacco, from contesting in the forthcoming national elections after he failed the age test set in the party’s election guidelines.
Sacco, who was a national member in the Youth League, will not be part of the contestants from Manicaland who will battle for positions at the upcoming youth conference from August 7-10.
Jostling for positions has already started in the party’s youth wing which has been described as a mirror of the December elective congress where factions battling to succeed Mugabe will square off.
The highest position to be battled for at the youth conference will be deputy secretary for youth affairs, whose winner will automatically become a politburo member.
Meanwhile, Gumbo also said the ruling party will today throw a massive lavish party at State House to celebrate its “resounding” electoral victory in last year’s elections.
He said several prominent musicians including Oliver Mtukudzi, Sulumani Chimbetu and Jah Prayzah among others would perform at the victory celebrations in Harare.