ZANU PF’s warring factions will today face-off at the ruling party’s politburo meeting as internal power struggles continue unabated.
BY RICHARD CHIDZA
President Robert Mugabe has surprisingly faced hitherto unheard of defiance even from the fiercely loyal veterans of the country’s liberation struggle.
This comes amid reports of clashes between two rival factions, one dubbed G40, which allegedly has the backing of First Lady Grace Mugabe, and the other one said to be loyal to Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa, going by the moniker Lacoste.
Insiders yesterday said Mugabe would today be forced to discuss disciplinary issues, including on Cabinet minister Christopher Mutsvangwa.
“Mutsvangwa’s issue, although all but over, might be brought up again. The G40 people will still want him fired, but the President seems to have dealt with it in the aftermath of the war veterans’ meeting fiasco,” a politburo source said.
Zanu PF spokesperson Simon Khaya Moyo refused to discuss the issue.
“We have always given a Press briefing after every politburo meeting. We will do the same tomorrow,” was all Khaya Moyo would say.
Mugabe lashed out at Mutsvangwa, who also serves as chairman of the ex-fighters’ body, after a botched meeting of the liberation war guerillas was violently suppressed as police used teargas and water cannons to disperse them.
However, it has since emerged that Mutsvangwa had briefed Home Affairs minister Ignatius Chombo and his Defence counterpart Sidney Sekeramayi.
Mugabe, according to reports, has met Mutsvangwa and “told him to go and work. Advise us if you encounter any problems”.
Mutsvangwa has already appeared before the Zanu PF National Disciplinary Committee (NDC) with the verdict still pending.
Kasukuwere has also suspended three Zanu PF provincial chairpersons, accusing them of violently stopping Women’s League members who were trying to attend a rally at the party’s headquarters “to thank Mugabe for leading the African Union”.
The three — Midlands’s Kizito Chivamba, Masvingo’s Ezra Chadzamira and Mashonaland East’s Joel Biggie Matiza — have already appeared before a sub-committee of the NDC.
“We are waiting anxiously for the announcement. We appeared last week and they should be able to make a decision. It is nothing more than a factional witch-hunt that will not sell even before a kangaroo court,” one of the three said on condition of anonymity.
Mugabe has since ordered that every member who has been suspended to go through another disciplinary procedure, paving the way for hearings relating to hordes of youth chairpersons also suspended by Kasukuwere for one reason or another.
Godwin Gomwe (Harare), Vengai Musengi (Mashonaland West), Godfrey Tsenengamu (Mashonaland Central) and others have pending cases, but argue their suspensions were factional.
Gomwe wrote to the NDC, headed by Vice-President Phelekezela Mphoko, demanding certain issues be clarified before he could defend his case.
“The letter (summons) does not disclose the complainant. First paragraph of the said letter gives the field impression that the allegations emerged at the NDC meeting held on February 17, 2016. This, therefore, tacitly implies that the NDC, which now seeks to adjudicate over the matter, is the complainant. That is improper. The NDC cannot be the jury and the judge at the same time,” Gomwe said, adding the allegations against him do not provide specific details as to where the offences were committed.
Former Vice-President Joice Mujuru’s emergence as an opposition leader could further compound an already desperate situation for a beleaguered Mugabe.