PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe has been dragged into clashes involving traditional leaders in his backyard, Zvimba, amid allegations that Zanu PF secretary for administration Ignatius Chombo was using chiefs and headmen to create a power base.
BY MOSES MATENGA
Traditional leaders and Zanu PF officials said they have since approached Mugabe to rein in Chombo, who was also being accused of using his political muscle to block rivals from taking positions during the on-going restructuring exercise.
Sources claimed Chombo was blocking Zanu PF members linked to officials who contested against him in the party’s primary elections in 2013.
NewsDay is in possession of several letters written by officials who campaigned for Chombo’s rivals during last year’s primary elections identified as Edwin Matibiri, pleading with party national commissar, Saviour Kasukuwere to address the issue.
“Honourable Cde (Kasukuwere), this letter is to highlight to your office what is happening in our district and five branches,” read part of one of the letters signed by 10 officials from Maringambizi district.
“The majority of cadres who supported Cde Matibiri during the primary elections were removed from their posts in the cell, branch and district level.
“Honourable, may you help these guys because Chombo and his crew are using the post of secretary for administration to do all these wrong doings (sic).”
The letters were copied to Kasukuwere, Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa and politburo member, Josiah Hungwe.
A letter from another district read in part: “All those who backed Matibiri were removed from their positions and we hear they are meeting privately and imposing people on positions so that Matibiri is not allowed to contest.”
Zanu PF Border Gezi district (Zvimba North) constituency also wrote: “We will be happy if you come to address the problems.
“Zanu PF can’t die because of one person.”
Chombo was also implicated in a fight among traditional leaders in Zvimba area, with Chief Zvimba saying there was a political hand trying to destabilise the people.
Although Chief Zvimba did not mention Chombo as the political hand behind the chaos, some traditional leaders urged Mugabe to stop the Local Government minister.
A meeting was recently called to stop Chief Beperere, real name Alfred Tome and Chief Chidziva from hearing matters, as they did not have warrants yet.
“They are trying cases, which is very illegal and ordering people to pay fines in different forms. We had a meeting with the DA (district administrator) and said they can’t do that since their areas have not been gazetted.
“They don’t have warrants and before they can have that, legally they are not allowed to do that,” Chief Zvimba said.
“A lot of things are done behind my back and I don’t know how this happened. People are complaining to me over this and I have heard this is happening.”
Asked whether they had sought Mugabe’s intervention to deal with the “political hand”, he said: “I pleaded with the President to spare five minutes with us so that we discuss the matter, but you know he is a very busy man”.
“These issues should not be politicised or abused for political mileage,” he said.
“Some of the things are done behind my back like I said.
“They can’t give out areas like that and say Chidziva go to the north, Beperere to the east while I go to the west, I have not been informed of such and they can’t say that from the blue, they have a base.”
Repeated efforts to get a comment from Chombo were fruitless as he was said to be out of the country yesterday.