via ‘I will only listen to Kasukuwere’ – DailyNews Live 12 May 2015 by Fungi Kwaramba
HARARE – Despite the hullabaloo surrounding Harare East by-election candidate Terence Mukupe’s open defiance of the directive by Zanu PF bigwigs that he makes way for another candidate in the June 10 poll, as well as his controversial decision to take the party to the courts over the matter, the Harare businessman is digging in resolutely.
Speaking in an interview with the Daily News yesterday, the audacious Mukupe vowed that he would not give up his right to contest the seat that became vacant when 14 MDC legislators were booted out of Parliament by their party last month.
Instead, Mukupe challenged his rival, Mavis Gumbo — who apparently enjoys the support of President Robert Mugabe, his influential wife Grace, Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa and party secretary for administration Ignatius Chombo, among others — to step aside as he had beaten her cleanly in the party’s primary elections.
But party insiders reiterated yesterday that Mukupe’s continued defiance of the top leadership not only puts him and party commissar Saviour Kasukuwere on a collision course with Mugabe and his top lieutenants, but also meant that the next politburo meeting — where the matter was likely to be resolved — would be an “explosive” one.
“Depending on the president’s travel schedule (Mugabe is in Russia and is scheduled to leave for Mali as soon as he returns), the politburo will meet this week as there are many important things that it must look into.
“Mukupe’s defiance, clearly backed by Tyson (Kasukuwere) and the Gang of Four, is a big problem.
“Everyone knows that when Chombo wrote his letter barring Mukupe from taking part in the by-election he was following an instruction from above, as seen at the weekend by how the likes of (Harare Zanu PF youth chairman Godfrey) Gomwe, who is very close to Amai (Grace) openly savaged both Mukupe and Kasukuwere,” a senior Harare Province official said.
But Mukupe defended Kasukuwere, saying the Water minister was the sole “guardian” of the party, and not the senior national and provincial officials who were trying to stop him from participating in the by-election.
“The guardian of the party is the political commissar. I cannot withdraw and I have not thrown the party into any turmoil.
“The people who are disturbing the party are those who are getting in the ring for their political interests. That is why we have the political commissar stepping in,” Mukupe said.
He also alluded to his long-running relationship with Kasukuwere, claiming that he was the one who had initiated the country’s failed and much-criticised community share ownership trusts that had dominated news headlines when Kasukuwere was in charge of indigenisation.
Mukupe also claimed that he had played a pivotal role in mobilising resources for Zanu PF in the run-up to the disputed 2013 national elections — criticising his detractors for savaging him over trivial issues.
“Is it a crime to be educated in the United States of America? I have worked for the party in different portfolios. Who brought the Ziscosteel/Essar deal?” he asked rhetorically before adding, “people should check facts and stop playing cheap politics”.
A senior party official said he could not see how Mukupe, Kasukuwere and “their backers in the Gang of Four and so-called Generation 40 (Zanu PF’s Young Turks) can win this one”.
“The fact is that the party is supreme to anyone. I can assure you that we will deal with this before the by-elections. The party’s position should be respected and we are not going to be put into confusion by an unknown person,” the official said.
He said even if one looked at the issue from a “numbers point of view”, it was clear that Gumbo enjoyed most of the support of the members of the provincial coordinating committee as well as ordinary party cadres, as she was allegedly closely linked to Grace.