ZANU PF internal fights claimed their first scalp yesterday with the party’s Harare provincial leadership suspending youth chairman Simbarashe Godwin Gomwe on charges of insubordination, although insiders claimed that he had been purged for backing First Lady Grace Mugabe’s political ascendancy.
Gomwe was slapped with a 21-day suspension by the provincial disciplinary committee headed by Chitungwiza South MP Christopher Chigumba.
According to the suspension letter dated September 2 and signed by provincial secretary for administration Hieronymo Torongo, Gomwe was barred from participating in any party activities until further notice.
He will be required to appear before a provincial disciplinary committee on September 10 to answer to several charges, among them vote-buying, violence, insubordination and blackmailing senior provincial executive members.
“You, Simbarashe Godwin Gomwe, are hereby issued with a prohibition order from carrying out any or participating in all party activities with immediate effect,” part of the letter read.
“The order had been issued in terms of Section 74(1) of Article 10 of the Zanu PF constitution for a period not exceeding 21 days. Furthermore, you are hereby notified of disciplinary charges against you as stated hereunder.”
According to the letter, Gomwe on August 24 instructed his personal bouncers to physically assault the youth chairperson of Takawira and Mbuya Nehanda districts after accusing one of them of supporting Vice-President Joice Mujuru.
Zanu PF is currently embroiled in serious infighting pitting the Mujuru faction against Justice minister Emmerson Mnangagwa’s camp with both reportedly jostling to succeed President Robert Mugabe.
Harare province also accused Gomwe of paying $10 to each district chairperson in the capital to induce them to follow
certain voting patterns in inter-district elections.
“Vote-buying is unacceptable and is against the policies and standing rules of the party as pronounced by the President and First Secretary of Zanu PF. Your conduct thus violated Section 18 (2) of the constitution,” the letter read.
The provincial leadership also accused Gomwe of organising an illegal demonstration on August 21 to denounce the provincial leadership after mobilising people under the false pretence that he would be giving out certificates of attendance to the 159 district youth chairpersons who attended the national Youth League conference.
Gomwe was also accused of lying against the provincial executive in an interview he granted to The Herald on August 30 where he allegedly claimed that Harare provincial chairman Amos Midzi, Politburo member and Mbare MP Tendai Savanhu and Central Committee member Noah Mangondo had bribed districts chairpersons to vote for Varaidzo Mupunga at the Youth League conference.
“In the same interview, you deliberately lied and/or insinuated that the provincial chairman, Cde Amos Midzi, did not know and approve of your trip to Mazowe to endorse the candidature of First Lady as secretary for the Women’s League,” Torongo added in the letter.
“You further claimed that youths from Epworth did not go to Mazowe allegedly because Cde Midzi did not know and approve of the trip. Both claims are lies. Your statements were deliberately calculated to mislead the public into believing that the provincial leadership did not support the candidature of the First Lady.”
Gomwe has had several run-ins with the provincial executive over Grace’s ascendancy. He claimed that his deputy Edson Takataka was assaulted by youths who had been mobilised by Savanhu.
This led to a meeting convened by Politburo member Cleveria Chizema in Highfield to call for the dismissal of Midzi’s executive.
As tension in Zanu PF reached a climax, Gomwe then demanded to meet Mugabe to brief him of the developments in the party and how the provincial executive was allegedly interfering and undermining the Youth League.
The situation was made worse by claims by Mugabe’s nephew, Patrick Zhuwawo, that he had been called by Harare province political commissar Shadreck Mashayamombe to tell Grace that she should go to Mashonaland West province for a political home.
This caused Mugabe to launch a tirade against Mashayamombe as he landed at Harare International Airport on Sunday.
The Zanu PF leader immediately ordered a Politburo meeting to address the chaos that was reigning supreme in the party.
By late evening yesterday, Mugabe and his Politburo members were still locked up in a meeting to try to cement the ever-widening fissures in his party over succession.