via Bulawayo24 NEWS | Mujuru camp rattled by Mugabe’s outbursts, 2 key members jump ship 04 September 2014
TWO key members of Vice President Joice Mujuru’s Zanu-PF faction are said to have jumped ship amid indications that several of her allies could be making moves to pitch their political tents in her supposed rival, Justice Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa’s camp for which President Robert Mugabe is showing a soft spot.
Although the names of the so-called deserters could not be obtained as sources were hesitant to speak on record, Zanu-PF insiders said Politburo member Cleveria Chizema defected two weeks ago and immediately started calling for the head of Harare provincial chairman, Amos Midzi and his executive.
Chizema is the most senior Politburo member in Harare province. Sources also claimed that the newly- elected Zanu-PF Youth League national secretary for administration, Varaidzo Mupunga, had confided in some senior party members of her intention to cross the floor.
Mupunga won the discredited Youth League elections last month, which led many to suggest that she could have been one of the beneficiaries of vote-buying, which characterised the chaotic Youth League polls.
Both Chizema and Mupunga could not be reached for comment. Turbulent times are rocking the faction riddled ruling party as cut-throat politics has become the order of the day with top dogs fighting to fill critical party organs ahead of the Zanu-PF congress scheduled for December. The only position that is unlikely to be contested is that of first secretary of the party occupied by President Mugabe himself. The incumbent has since been endorsed by all provinces while his wife, Grace, looks set to land the influential secretary for women’s affairs post for which she has been nominated.
Other positions are up for grabs at the congress and this has triggered a lot of jostling among the top brass keen either to land them or push proxies. The fight for positions is being waged along factional lines. Mnangagwa and Mujuru, who have for long been perceived as the leaders of the rival factions battling to replace the incumbent in the event that he retires, have repeatedly denied it. The battles have turned nasty as the Mnangagwa camp has seized the opportunity to launch a smear campaign against the Mujuru allies. Those from the Mnangangwa faction have since launched a fierce campaign against Mujuru whom they are accusing of plotting against President Mugabe and his wife, Grace with the aid of under fire secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa.
The President has also of late had been speaking hard against Mutasa whom has been blaming for mismanagement. At the youths and women’s league congresses held last month, President Mugabe attacked Mutasa, who is also doubling up as the party’s secretary for finance, for failing to run the party and raise money to fund party activities. He also spoke strongly about corruption and nepotism at the party’s headquarters whose affairs fall under Mutasa’s portfolio.
Losing candidates at the Youth League elections, Tongai Kasukuwere, Lewis Matutu and outgoing deputy secretary for youth affairs Edson Chakanyuka – all from the Mnangagwa faction – approached President Mugabe seeking nullification of the election results on the basis of vote buying. Based on those complaints, the President then summoned party leaders to a meeting at State House, which could not deal with the matter decisively.
President Mugabe has since referred the matter to the Politburo, the party’s supreme decision making body for discussion. The Politburo met yesterday to deliberate the issues details of which could not be obtained by the time of going to print. On his return from China on Sunday, President Mugabe, attacked Mujuru backers in Harare province, who include provincial chairman Amos Midzi and political commissar, Shadreck Mashayamombe, and told the gathering that waited to receive him at the Harare International Airport for trying to forestall the ascendency of the First Lady in the party and refusing to accept her in the province.
He said the move by Harare’s leadership was unacceptable and would be subject of discussion at this week’s politburo meeting.
While President Mugabe has been chiding the Mujuru camp, he has appeared to give the impression that he was inclined to the opposite faction.