AN implosion looms in the ruling Zanu PF party ahead of its extra-ordinary congress in December this year amid reports that Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s backers in Masvingo and Midlands provinces yesterday vowed to defy and challenge the recent suspension of their four key members by national commissar Saviour Kasukuwere last week.
By Everson Mushava/Xolisani Ncube/BLESSED MHLANGA
The defiance came as Mnangagwa yesterday attended an extraordinary politburo meeting at State House in Harare. He was also by President Robert Mugabe’s (pictured) side as he addressed the Council of Chiefs in Bulawayo at the weekend.
The latest standoff is likely to throw preparations of the congress in smoke as the two distinct factions – Team Lacoste and G40 – seek to tear each other apart, particularly in the election of central committee members and selection of delegates.
In Masvingo, the Mnangagwa allies boycotted a welcome rally organised for the new Provincial Affairs minister Paul Chimedza and held a separate meeting where provincial chairman Ezra Chadzamira declared that he was still in charge.
This happened as Mnangagwa’s Midlands backers also met in Gweru and resolved to legally challenge the suspension of acting vice-chairperson Godwin Shiri and youth league provincial administration secretary Justice Mayor Wadyajena.
The province also resolved to write to secretary for administration Ignatius Chombo, raising complaints against attempts by Kasukuwere to micro-manage its affairs.
“We have resolved to write to the secretary for administration raising issues of concern around the matters which led to the alleged suspension of our comrades in Midlands. We are not aware of the said charges as a province. Further, we have not been notified of these charges,” Midlands provincial chairman Daniel Mackenzie Ncube said.
Mackenzie Ncube said given the fact that the suspensions were improper, Midlands would continue to recognise Shiri and Wadyajena as full members of the executive until the matter was dealt with in a proper way. The party supporters yesterday vowed to continue with their defiance and attend all party and government events in solidarity with the under-fire Vice-President, accused of State capture and plotting to unseat Mugabe.
“We will be at the rallies, we will be there even if they use the platforms to denigrate us, we will walk with the President. There is nothing we can do to stop those attacks, our opponents have the advantage of hiding under the garments of the First Lady (Grace), but we don’t and we can’t go to her and plead to be loved by her, the people will judge and time will tell,” an executive member said.
Mnangagwa attended an extraordinary politburo meeting yesterday and was with Mugabe as he addressed chiefs in Bulawayo at the weekend.
He was also scheduled to join Mugabe at the upcoming Presidential youth interface rallies in Bulawayo on Saturday and at a later date in Harare.
Party spokesperson Simon Khaya Moyo yesterday said he was not aware of the meeting held by the Masvingo and Midlands executive committees.
“I cannot comment on something that I have not been briefed on and nobody has told me of the meeting, so I can’t talk about it,” he said.
Besides Chadzamira, other top provincial executives who snubbed Chimedza’s inauguration in Masvingo include Clemence Makwarimba, Edmund Mhere, Berita Chikwama, Titus Maluleke and his wife Otilia, Alois Baloyi, Jevas Masosota, Paul Mangwana and Zanu PF chief whip Lovemore Matuke.
Foreign Affairs minister Walter Mzembi, who was the guest of honour, lashed out at Chadzamira, describing him as a “rebel”.
“Chadzamira, if you are suspended, you have to respect the order,” Mzembi said.
“He should learn from some of us. I was suspended for six months in 2004, and I respected the order and I was cleared.
“It won’t help to start having Renamo meetings in Masvingo. You don’t influence others to rebel against (President Robert) Mugabe. I want to advise Chadzamira, if he was suspended, he now risks being fired.”
Chadzamira and Masvingo youth league political commissar Brian Munyoro were last week suspended alongside Shiri and Wadyajena on allegations of fanning factionalism and sowing division in the party.
Mzembi said Chadzamira and his backers were now behaving like a rebel movement plotting to remove Mugabe and should be dealt with.
Provincial commissar Jeppy Jaboon introduced Amasa Nenjana as the acting chairman replacing the suspended Chadzamira.
Jaboon said the party had been hijacked by Team Lacoste members and would make sure that the forthcoming central committee elections would exclude those who antagonise Mugabe and his wife First Lady Grace.
“We will make sure those who do not support President Mugabe and his wife will not be voted into the central committee in the next two weeks,” Jaboon said.
“I heard they had a meeting to fire me. This time I am not going anywhere. They are wasting time.”
Addressing the same rally, Nenjana warned party members against following “a rebellious clique whose days are numbered”.
“We want unity in the province, let us not follow those who are rebelling against the President,” Nenjana said.
“They are like the donkey that carried Jesus and when he was well received, it thought it was the most important. Without President Mugabe, you are like that donkey and they should know this.”
Chimedza pledged to unite the province to rally behind Mugabe. After the rally, provincial spokesperson Darlington Chihwa said the province had recommended the expulsion of Chadzamira and Munyoro.
“We uphold the decision of the party superiors to fire Chadzamira and Munyoro,” Chihwa said.
Chadzamira yesterday refused to comment referring questions to Ronald Ndava, whom he said was the provincial spokesperson.
Ndava confirmed the meeting which he said was chaired by Chadzamira.
“He has not received any letter of suspension and he is still in charge. The issue about his suspension is still social media talk. Above all, his supposed suspension is irregular because the chairman of the NDC (national disciplinary committee) is the one who is supposed to fire a chairman,” Ndava said.
He denied reports that they had snubbed Chimedza’s rally.
“I was there. This is where I am coming from now. There were many people and it was difficult to see who was there and who was not there,” he said, adding any attempts to suspend their executive would be challenged.