WAR veterans leader and former Cabinet minister, Christopher Mutsvangwa, has called on Zanu PF leaders to deal ruthlessly with troublemakers whom he accuses of fomenting chaos in the ruling party ahead of this weekend’s crucial district co-ordinating committee (DCC) elections.
Speaking in an interview with the Daily News yesterday, Mutsvangwa urged Zanu PF to follow the example of the late liberation war icon, Josiah Magama Tongogara, whom he said had a crack team that dealt with party “warlords” at the height of the country’s liberation struggle in the 1970s.
This comes as this weekend’s DCC polls have been marred by allegations of bribery, factionalism and tribalism with party wars coming to a head in October when violent youths disrupted the former liberation movement’s primary elections for the forthcoming Kwekwe Central by-election.
Mutsvangwa said yesterday that the time had now come for party leaders to deal decisively with malcontents within their ranks.
“As war veterans, we believe in discipline. We don’t believe in wayward behaviour and warlords. “Even during the war, we were very particular about that. General Tongogara actually had a crack unit to ensure that those who tried to become warlords on the Zimbabwean battlefield were brought to account by the party.
“So, we warn that any warlord behaviour within the party will not be tolerated. “The state structures in Zimbabwe are very strong, and the legal system as well as the authority of the president is uncontested.
“We warn those people who are bent on doing wayward things that they will be punished. We condemn totally those who celebrate nefarious behaviour,” Mutsvangwa told the Daily News.
He also chastised some Zanu PF bigwigs and youths whom he accused of compromising the integrity of the DCC elections.
“Remember the DCCs were abolished by the G40s because they were seen as an obstacle to them taking over the revolutionary party.
“The second republic has seen it fit to restore the DCCs so that they become the custodians of the party’s integrity and its political programmes and ideology. “That process must be allowed to be transparent and democratic so that the will of the electorate of the party can be expressed without fear or threats from anybody,” Mutsvangwa said.
“So, the Kwekwe disturbances are strongly condemned by war veterans. “We hope that the legal process will takeits course and the culprits will find themselves under the cushion of the law,” he further told the Daily News.
This comes after Zanu PF supporters thronged Kwekwe city centre on Friday last week to celebrate the release from jail of the party’s provincial youth league secretary for education, Tapiwa Muto.
Muto (36) had been arrested on charges of inciting violence, murder and rape — after he allegedly led machete wielding youths to assault party bigwigs and police officers during the chaotic primary elections for Kwekwe Central.
The murder charge against Muto arose from an alleged incident earlier this month when he, together with his accomplices — Tafadzwa Rodgers, Wiseman Ngwenya, Raymond Chiriga, Petros and two others still at large —
caused the death of Andrew Moyo.
The victim was allegedly assaulted with switches and open hands before he was rushed to Kwekwe General Hospital where he died on arrival.
Following his release by a Kwekwe magistrate on $2 000 bail, hundreds of Zanu PF supporters marched from the city centre to the party provincial offices singing and dancing in solidarity with Muto, despite the current ban on protests and public gatherings due to Covid-19 regulations.
Midlands provincial chairperson, Daniel Mackenzie-Ncube, yesterday accused the supporters of putting Zanu PF’s name into disrepute.
“What our supporters did must be condemned in the strongest terms because we cannot be seen, as the ruling party, to be at the forefront of violating the country’s Covid-19 rules. “We need to be disciplined and not tarnish the image of the party when we seemingly promote unruly behaviour.
“Those who condone violence will reap what they sow,” Mackenzie-Ncube told the Daily News. During last week’s politburo meeting, acting Zanu PF spokesperson Patrick Chinamasa revealed that party bigwigs had been briefed on the violence in Kwekwe.
“There was an incident in Kwekwe where violence was unleashed. “The investigations by our security have been completed and this (the ensuing report) will be submitted to the secretary for administration — and where the
need arises, it will be submitted to the national disciplinary committee.
“You must anticipate that heads will roll and justice will be done without fear or favour if there are members of Zanu PF who have put the name of the party into disrepute.
“No one will be spared. But we have not yet seen that report,” Chinamasa said.
So bad was the fracas in Kwekwe that police had to fire teargas to disburse supporters of Kandros Mugabe and Energy Ncube — the two Zanu PF officials who were vying to fill the vacant constituency, which was won by the late
Masango “Blackman” Matambanadzo in the 2018 elections.
Armed with machetes and iron bars, youths stormed the party’s Kwekwe district office then, where the election was being held, and assaulted polling officers and voters — damaging vehicles in the process. Last week, President Emmerson Mnangagwa also threatened to expel some party bigwigs whom he accused of abusing his name
and dividing Zanu PF.
In his address to the same politburo, he said DCC elections were meant to unite the party, not divide it. “The DCC structures are a system to strengthen party co-ordination, as well as a useful vehicle to entrench party constitutionalism, internal democracy and grassroot mobilisation.
“More importantly, once established, DCCs should co-ordinate and unify our party through constant interaction with political districts, as we journey towards Vision 2030,” he said.
“Our meeting today should remind us that we are a people’s party with the responsibility to advance the mancipation and economic empowerment of our people.
“The need to engrain the liberation and revolutionary history, ethos and value systems in all our activities is equally important.
“The party constitution requires members to be loyal, patriotic and to promote peace and unity. “Under the Second Republic, our DNA entails that we serve our people wholeheartedly and promote inclusive development which eaves no one, and no place behind,” Mnangagwa said further.
The DCC structures elect Zanu PF’s 10 provincial executives — where the party and Mnangagwa draw members of he central committee and the politburo from. The DCCs were disbanded in 2012 after they were deemed to be fanning factionalism during Mnangagwa and former vice president Joice Mujuru’s battles to succeed the late ormer president Robert Mugabe.