PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe yesterday admitted that he lost a number of key Zanu PF members during a purge against perceived supporters of Vice-President Joice Mujuru, saying it was a blessing the ruling party is still intact.
BY XOLISANI NCUBE
Addressing the Zanu PF central committee meeting yesterday, Mugabe lamented that a number of key party members went with the camp allegedly led by Mujuru.
“We are also meeting in a political context in which the party has had its smooth running environment disturbed by misguided ambitions of individuals, Gamatox, Gamatox, Gamatox, Gamatox,” he said.
“We have lost to Gamatox quite a number of people, some at a very higher level, political level.
“It was not just the top most ones, Mai Mujuru supposedly the leader, Mutasa (Didymus) and Gumbo (Rugare) not just those ones, but we have others under them as well.”
Early this year, Mujuru and a host of senior party members were kicked out of the party for allegedly plotting to dethrone Mugabe through assassination. The ex-VP was replaced by Emmerson Mnangagwa and his co-deputy, Phelekezela Mphoko.
Over 140 party activists were either suspended or expelled for allegedly being part of the Mujuru camp, with some Cabinet ministers losing their ministerial jobs after being linked to the Mujuru camp.
Mugabe said the party should guard against “unbridled ambitions” of people who wanted to rise to the top through unscrupulous means.
“The party has its own methods of choosing. So you should watch. Watch out for more of that trend . . . we now have some with unbridled ambitions . . . having ambitions is not bad, but we want unity in the party,” he said.
After the divisive congress, Zanu PF has remained embroiled in bitter factional wars with Mnangagwa tussling it out with a group allegedly called the Generation 40.
The group is allegedly composed of political commissar Saviour Kasukuwere, Higher Education minister Jonathan Moyo and a host of Young Turks in the party who are said to harbour ambitions of leading the party post-Mugabe. According to Mugabe, the central committee — the most powerful organ outside congress — was supposed to either endorse or reject the disciplinary cases handled by the politburo, which is the management wing for the central committee.
The disciplinary cases the committee was expected to deal with yesterday included the expulsion of Mujuru, former Presidential Affairs minister Didymus Mutasa, former Zanu PF Mashonaland West chairman Temba Mliswa, former Mashonaland East chairman Ray Kaukonde, and former Masvingo Provincial Affairs minister Kudakwashe Bhasikiti and suspensions of key party members who include former political commissar Webster Shamu, former Indigenisation minister Francis Nhema and former Zanu PF Women’s League administration secretary Flora Buka, among others.
The 91-year-old leader said a number of party leaders aligned themselves with Mujuru after they had been misled that he was going to retire anytime.
“I know that a number of people were linked to Mai Mujuru as they sought to align themselves with her saying the President is going to retire soon . . . We could not fire all,” he said.
In his address to the central committee, Mugabe warned party officials not to abuse the Internet to attack fellow party members.
Although he did not mention names, several Zanu PF activists have used either social media platforms Facebook or Twitter to launch scathing attacks on fellow party members, with some making serious allegations against the leadership.
“If you have any information, bring it to us with evidence so that we can deal with it and not going on the Internet and post it there. No!” he said.
“On the Internet, we find many bad things. That is where people are writing that this one is a thief, this and that . . . let us not go that route,” Mugabe pleaded.
The Zanu PF leader warned people who would have been appointed as Cabinet ministers that they served at his pleasure and if he decided to reshuffle them, no one should complain as they were working for the party.
“We hear some complaining that ‘I have not been recognised . . . I did this so I deserve to be there, I did this I deserve that position . . . We don’t do things so for ourselves, but the party. This applies even to our ministers. When you are moved from one ministry to the other, don’t complain,” he said.
“Some we hear they say I deserved to be there because I did this. No! No! No!”
Environment minister Oppah Muchinguri was in the eye of a storm recently after she allegedly complained that she was not rewarded for engineering Mujuru’s ouster.