Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s Team Lacoste faction has been dealt a major blow ahead of the Zanu PF conference, after the politburo this week barred three suspended provincial chairpersons from holding positions in the party for allegedly disrespecting First Lady Grace Mugabe.
By Everson Mushava/ Tatenda Chitagu
The three Mnangagwa allies – Kizito Chivamba (Midlands), Ezra Chadzamira (Masvingo) and Biggie Matiza (Mashonaland East) – were barred from contesting for the provincial chairmanship positions and were relegated to ordinary card-carrying members.
Zanu PF secretary for administration, Ignatius Chombo was not answering his phone yesterday, to confirm the suspensions.
But, political commissar, Saviour Kasukuwere confirmed the move, which was announced at the central committee meeting on Wednesday by legal affairs secretary, Patrick Chinamasa.
“Yes, they have been ordered not to contest for their previous positions,” Kasukuwere said.
“The decision by the politburo was communicated to the central committee by Chinamasa. They were not suspended, but found guilty and barred from holding provincial posts.”
Chadzamira, Chivamba and Matiza were suspended for allegedly mobilising party members in their respective provinces to snub Grace’s rally early this year.
They were charged with disrespecting the First Lady and their case had been dragging before the party’s disciplinary committee now led by Chinamasa.
Amasa Nenjana was appointed Masvingo acting chairperson, taking over from Chadzamira, Jorum Gumbo is now acting Midlands chairperson and Bernard Makokove is the interim boss in Mashonaland East.
The demoted trio were allegedly active members of Team Lacoste faction, which is battling with the G40 camp in the race to succeed Mugabe, who has already been endorsed to stand for the party in the 2018 general elections when he will be 94.
The barring of the three will be a heavy blow to Mnangagwa, who seems to be losing ground in controlling provinces.
Meanwhile, Mugabe last night arrived in Masvingo for the Zanu PF conference, which starts in earnest at the Masvingo Showgrounds today.
He headed straight to the venue, where he got into a briefing.
The venue does not have adequate toilets and with the rains that are hitting the province, it was all muddy.
Nenjana said 150 mobile toilets had been provided, while other toilets under construction were nearing completion.
He said five boreholes had also been drilled at the venue to service the expected 7 000 delegates.
More delegates were trooping into Masvingo yesterday in hired buses, including those from State-run Zupco, turning the city into a hive of activity.