More heads are set to roll in Zanu PF, with the party’s political commissar Saviour Kasukuwere yesterday warning that more purges are looming, as a new wave of factionalism threatens to ravage the former liberation movement.
Addressing a campaign rally in Tafara-Mabvuku, where he was drumming up support for the party’s parliamentary candidate for Harare East, Terrence Mukupe, Kasukuwere described himself as the biggest political thug in the party.
“I am one of the biggest political thugs in Zanu PF and some of these people are small thugs,” he said, the clearest sign yet that all was not well in the ruling party.
Listen to Kasukuwere’s full address below:
“They should come to the ground and we fight before the people.”
Without mentioning names, Kasukuwere hinted that those opposed to him were on the verge of being expelled.
“We don’t want those who are now using the electorate like their bond coins,” he said.
“There are those who are close to being expelled. You don’t challenge the leadership of the party or use your positions to undermine the party.”
Kasukuwere’s statements appeared to be directed at the Zanu PF Harare provincial executive led by Godwills Masimirembwa, which fiercely resisted Mukupe’s candidature, claiming that he had been imposed on them by the political commissar.
There were unconfirmed reports last night that Masimirembwa and his executive were on the verge of being booted out.
The Harare executive wanted Mavis Gumbo to represent the party in the June 10 by-election.
Gumbo’s nomination papers were signed by the party’s national secretary for administration Ignatius Chombo.
Mukupe won the party’s primaries against Gumbo, but his nomination papers were rejected by the Nomination Court, prompting him to approach the Electoral Court for redress.
Both Masimirembwa and Zanu PF Youth League provincial chairman Godwin Gomwe, who have been vocal over the issue, were conspicuous by their absence at the rally.
Kasukuwere’s outburst followed reports that Gumbo’s supporters had threatened to demonstrate against him.
“I will not share the stage with thieves,” he said. “I would rather come alone than come with criminals wearing Zanu PF regalia.”
The party’s national commissar said he would not be cowed into submission by “criminals”.
“We fought and won against the (ousted former Vice-President Joice) Mujuru cabal,” he said. “That was me, President (Robert) Mugabe, the First Lady (Grace Mugabe) and Vice-President (Emmerson) Mnangagwa.
“We were few, but we prevailed.”
Earlier on, Zanu PF Harare province political commissar Shadreck Mashayamombe had told Zanu PF supporters that the campaign rally had been delayed after Kasukuwere received intelligence reports to the effect that Gumbo’s loyalists had organised a demonstration against him.
“We hear that there are some who want to demonstrate against the national political commissar,” Mashayamombe said.
“If you are here, may you peacefully leave. I have phoned him to reassure him that he is safe and can come and address party supporters as the situation is peaceful.”
Anti-riot police maintained a heavy presence at the rally.