FIRST Lady Grace Mugabe yesterday reportedly stopped five top Zanu PF officials, tasked by President Robert Mugabe to investigate the party’s beleaguered political commissar, Saviour Kasukuwere, from travelling to Bindura, amid reports that rival factions had bussed hundreds of their supporters to the venue to disrupt the meeting.
BY OBEY MANAYITI/ELIAS MAMBO
Party sources said Grace called the head of the delegation, Zanu PF secretary for administration, Ignatius Chombo on Saturday, ordering him to call off the meeting after some politburo members and legislators from the province threatened to disrupt the hearing accusing him of being sympathetic to Kasukuwere.
“MPs from the province raised issues with the First Lady. (Kenneth) Musanhi has direct contact with Grace, so he advised her that the province does not trust Chombo. Grace had to instruct Chombo to call off the meeting,” a source said.
Mashonaland East Provincial Affairs minister Martin Dinha yesterday confirmed cancellation of the meeting, saying the directive had come from Chombo.
“The meeting has been postponed to Wednesday. We just received a message from Chombo that the meeting should be postponed and we have communicated that to the people. We were told some of the people, who were supposed to come here, are occupied somewhere,” he said.
Efforts to get a comment from Chombo were fruitless, as his mobile phone went unanswered, while Kasukuwere refused to comment on the issue.
Mugabe last week tasked a high-powered Zanu PF delegation comprising of Chombo, Defence minister Sydney Sekeramayi, State Security minister Kembo Mohadi, women’s league commissar, Marble Chinomona and Senate President Edna Madzongwe to travel to Bindura and investigate circumstances that triggered the initial vote-of-no-confidence on Kasukuwere.
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Zanu PF Mashonaland central province was the first to pass a vote-of-no-confidence in Kasukuwere, before the bug spread to several other provinces amid allegations that the party’s commissar had set up parallel structures to topple Mugabe ahead of next year’s general elections.
The anti-Kasukuwere crusade in Mashonaland Central province is being led by self-proclaimed provincial chairperson, Kazembe Kazembe, who claims to have “booted out” Dickson Mafios.
As early as 7am, hundreds of Zanu PF supporters comprising of Kasukuwere’s sympathisers and rivals had swarmed the small mining town of Bindura to witness the proceedings, despite the fact that only provincial members had been invited to give evidence.
Shortly after Dinha announced the postponement of the meeting, armed police immediately sealed off the venue, Bindura Country Club, forcing the rival Zanu PF groups to regroup at separate venues in the town to ponder their next move.
Kasukuwere’s sympathisers regrouped at Mayfair Lodge, while the Kazembe-led team, which included Nicholas Goche and Lazarus Dokora met at Musanhi’s house.
Musanhi, who is Zanu PF legislator for Bindura North was unreachable for comment, as his mobile phone went unanswered.
Both Dinha and Kazembe reportedly urged their members to stick to their resolution to have Kasukuwere and Mafios expelled.
Dinha said there was no going back on the anti-Kasukuwere resolution, adding people had turned up in their numbers to ensure their resolution was not manipulated.
“We know money was changing hands to try and overturn the resolution. They are now making frantic efforts to save their skin, but that G40 cabal will not prevail,” Dinha said.
“I have persistently told him (Kasukuwere) to just throw in the towel just like (former women’s league treasurer) Sarah Mahoka and (the league’s ex-deputy secretary) Eunice Sandi Moyo did. There is no way that he can continue as the party’s mobiliser, when he is so disgraced like this and when all the provinces have rejected him.
“What (Phillip) Chiyangwa said about his character is so revealing. It is in his best interest to throw in the towel now and seek for redeployment or just leave politics and try farming or teaching.”
But, Mafios remained defiant, dismissing Dinha’s claims as “childish”.
“That is childish. I didn’t think we can reach to that stage, but anyway people have their democratic right to express themselves, but where do we get that money from,” he said.
“We don’t have that financial backup to buy people and to do that. Those are fabrications and he must tell us a single person, who has received that money.”
Mafios said Zanu PF supporters had voluntarily come in their numbers to witness the proceedings. He also blasted police for their show of force at the meeting.
“People had to comply, but eventually there was heavy police presence with dogs, guns and teargas, but it is not normal in Zanu PF to see such kind of insult to the leadership taking place,” he said.
“How can we have police officers with dogs and guns as if the rally is illegal? This was just a surprise to us.”
Meanwhile, the Zanu PF Harare provincial leadership yesterday nullified the alleged suspension of political commissar, Shadreck Mashayamombe.
Provincial chairperson, Charles Tavengwa confirmed the development, saying the executive had nullified both the suspension and prohibition order announced last week by provincial secretary for administration, George Mashavave.
“We had a fruitful meeting and he (Mashayamombe) was present. All those issues were declared null and void,” he said.