via Battle to succeed Mugabe: Mnangagwa’s faction seizes State media infrastructure Zimbabwe Mail 17 November 2013
The announcement of Zanu PF Mashonaland Central results on national television was the reason behind the haste sacking of the entire ZBC board and management, The Zimbabwe Mail can reveal as this comes in the wake of reports of intensifying fights in the party as different factions position themselves for the eventual succession of 89-year-old Mugabe.
Zimbabwe’s newly appointed Minister of Information, Media and Broadcasting Services Jonathan Moyo who is in the Mnangagwa camp on last week ordered the state broadcaster Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) board to be dissolved, and its chief executive suspended, over what he alleged to be delays months of payment to its employees.
Moyo said in a statement that the move was necessary to allow a probe of ZBC’s challenges to proceed.
However source close to some former members of the dissolved board revealed to our reporter on Sunday that the whole act was politically motivated and linked to the battle to succeed Mugabe and the source pointed out that the announcement of Zanu PF Mashonaland Central Provincial poll results on ZTV was the nail in the coffin for the embattled board.
It is believed that there are simmering tensions between Minister of Information, Media and Broadcasting Services Jonathan Moyo and his deputy Supa Mandiwanzira who is a close confidante of the Secretary for administration, Didymus Mutasa – both Moyo and Mandiwanzira belongs to rival factions.
We can also reveal that editors at State media newspapers have been asked by Moyo not to take instructions from Mr Mandiwanzira.
Moyo has beefed up loyalists in the editorial of State media newspapers including former NewZimbabwe website’s editor, Mduduzi Mathuthu, as the new editor of the state run Chronicle newspaper and at the Herald Moyo has deployed his sidekick Jorum Nyahti to monitor to keep close guard on the newly appointed editor Caesar Zvayi.
Sources said Mugabe was angry at not being officially informed of the election results particularly in Mashonaland Central where officials allegedly rushed to announce the outcome of the polls before briefing him first.
“Mugabe only got to know of the Mashonaland Central results on television, yet all the other members of the presidium were briefed before. Protocol requires that Mugaacbe must be briefed before an issue becomes public,” said an official close to the party.
He said Mugabe had also not been informed of a new committee set up to supervise the remaining elections in seven provinces.
The committee is chaired by Vice-President Joice Mujuru and comprises Zanu PF national chairman Simon Khaya Moyo, secretary for administration, Didymus Mutasa and national commissar, Webster Shamu.
Moyo, appointed the media minister after veteran president Robert Mugabe won the July 31 election, ordered the broadcaster’s chief executive officer Happison Muchechetere on pay leave. His vacancy was taken by ZBC Radio Services general manager Allan Chiweshe.
Zimbabwe’s State media operations have now been ceased by one Zanu PF faction led by Justice Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa who has faired dismally in the on-going party provincial elections. Meanwhile the faction led by Vice-President Joyce Mujuru is in full controll of the party’s Information and Publicity department through Jorum Gumbo and also they have party Commissariate under Webster Shamu and backing of national chairman Simon Khaya-Moyo and secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa
Critics of the ruling Zanu-PF party are calling for reforms particularly to open up the state-controlled airwaves.
Zanu PF faction believed to be led by Vice-President (VP) Joice Mujuru appears to be gaining more ground in Zanu PF’s intricate succession battle.
But in a dramatic twist which sources said was Mugabe’s bid to salvage prospects of his favoured successor Justice Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa, allegations of irregularities plagued Zanu-PF elections in Mashonaland Central Province where incumbent chairman Dickson Mafios was challenged by Luke Mushore.
Presidential spokesperson Mr George Charamba issued a statement last week in which he alleged he had been instructed by President Mugabe to share with the media that Zanu-PF’s highest decision-making body outside congress was still to be briefed on and to take a decision on the Mashonaland Central provincial elections.
“Tell the media that I have told you that the Politburo has not as yet received results from Mashonaland Central province. Equally, the Politburo is still to receive a report which accompanies the same,’’ Mr Charamba said.
“It is only when the Politburo has been favoured with both the results and the accompanying report that it will then be in a position to study both before taking a decision,’’ he added.
But Zanu PF secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa (picture) said: “The Herald is not always right and we do not expect the editor (of that paper) to make announcements on behalf of the party.
“If the editor wants to speak on behalf of the party then he must join us and become an official. We make our announcements through our party spokesperson Rugare Gumbo.”
Mutasa also said the issue of re-runs is a figment of the media’s imagination.
Gumbo – who is said to be in the Mujuru camp – then moved in to remind Charamba that his remit did not extend to party matters.
“I am the spokesperson of the party and no one else. I announced results and those results stand. Anyone who announces otherwise has vested interests,” Gumbo told Newsday.
“I announced those results after getting information from the national political commissar, Webster Shamu. Anyone who opposes those results has vested interests and wants the results to go the other way.”Moyo then weighed in, accusing Gumbo of insubordination and telling his politburo colleague that there was no bigger authority in the party than Mugabe, on whose behalf Charamba spoke.
The spiky information minister tempered his rebuke by saying he had not been able to verify whether Gumbo was correctly quoted by the daily but that is unlikely to soften the sting in his reprimand.
Said Moyo: “In the first place, the ministry is unable to confirm that the unfortunate and insubordinate statement attributed to Cde Gumbo by NewsDay is infact accurate.
“However, and for the record, the President’s directive as conveyed through Cde Charamba is the correct and only official position regarding the status of the results of the Zanu PF elections for the provincial executive in Mashonaland Central.
“There can be no executive authority in Zanu PF higher than the party’s President and First Secretary. Any suggestion or claim to the contrary is mischievous to the extreme.
“As such and for the avoidance of doubt, the only position that still stands on the matter in question is what Cde Charamba told the media. This is the official position as directed by the President and it has not changed.”
Elections are still to be held in the other seven party provinces with national chairman Simon Khaya Moyo announcing an ad hoc committee to oversee the process in a bid to avoid similar problems.
“Following the challenges observed in the conduct of the Zanu PF provincial elections, an ad hoc committee was appointed to oversee the process in the remaining seven provinces,” Moyo told reporters in Harare
Meanwhile, a report in the State-run newspaper headed by Maduduzi Mathuthu has weighed-in the succession matters with a report this weekend saying: “Attempts to impose Professor Callistus Ndlovu who is believed to be in alliance of the Mujuru faction as chairman of Zanu-PF in Bulawayo have sparked outrage within the province with some party members describing the move as undemocratic and unconstitutional.”
The report goes on to say: “With only a week left before the holding of provincial elections in the city, there is conflict within the ruling party after the provincial executive sought to circumvent party procedures by foisting Prof Ndlovu on the people. They want Prof Ndlovu, the incumbent chair who is a member of the Central Committee, to retain the post without going through an election.”
“We are opposed to this proposal,” fumed a party member who declined to be named.
“This is election time as per the constitution of the party and Prof Ndlovu (picture) cannot retain that post without an election. What is being done by the senior leadership in the province is wrong and cannot be accepted.”
The party members said imposing Prof Ndlovu would embarrass the party at a time when it was trying to canvas for support after losing the 31 July elections in the city to the MDC-T.
“Zanu-PF is an advocate of democratic processes and what some of us are trying to do is stifling democracy. The unfortunate thing is that this is made to appear to be a provincial decision when it is just a clique of that executive,” said another party member.
A Central Committee member who also preferred anonymity said: “Forcing Dr Ndlovu to join that race is embarrassing. As a Central Committee member, party protocol does not allow him to stand.
“Umdala (Prof Ndlovu) is a senior man who should be seconded to the Politburo and not fight over petty issues of the province. I think the people behind this do not love the old man because this will damage his political career.”
A youth member said: “This province needs young dynamic leaders and election time is meant to let people choose that leadership.”
It is the contention of the provincial executive that Prof Ndlovu, a renowned academic, has brought stability in the party and should continue at the helm.
Two candidates Joseph Tshuma and Simon Khabo, who were vying for the post of chairman, have since pulled out of the race citing different reasons related to the issue.
Tshuma and Khabo had submitted their credentials alongside incumbent deputy chairman Killian Sibanda, Douglas Ndlovu and Tendai Ncube.
“Yes I have withdrawn from the race for the chairmanship because I cannot contest against a Central Committee member. Prof Ndlovu brought stability to the party and I think withdrawing is the right thing to do,” said Cde Khabo.
“The decision to second him to retain the post was made by the provincial elections directorate which I am part of. I cannot speak against that decision.”
Tshuma said he had decided to contest for the post of vice chairman.
“I have withdrawn from the chairmanship and I am now vying for the post of the vice chair. There was too much noise and bickering over that issue and as a young politician I did not want to soil my reputation,” he said.
Commenting on the issue, Prof Ndlovu said he was not participating in the election although the provincial executive had seconded him to stand unopposed.
“I am not participating in the elections and I am not a candidate. The province wanted me to retain the post but that is their comment and it is entirely up to them to do that and not for me to comment on it,” he said.
Politburo member Dr Sikhanyiso Ndlovu (picture) yesterday insisted that the provincial executive endorsed Prof Ndlovu to retain his post unopposed.
“The submission was made to the Presidium and the national commissariat about the decision to endorse Prof Ndlovu’s chairmanship but we are still waiting for a reply.
The elections are coming next weekend but the position of the chairman will not be contested,” said Dr Ndlovu.
However, Sibanda disagreed: “That is a lie meant to decampaign us. I am contesting 100 percent and we will all meet Prof Ndlovu in the election ring if he wants to contest.”
He added: “As the province they sat and dictated things yet we sent our names to the national elections directorate in Harare.
The people who are voting are districts who have the ultimate say and not the provincial executive.”
Provincial spokesperson Michael Sikhosana confirmed the withdrawal of Tshuma and Khabo but could not be drawn into commenting on the participation of Prof Ndlovu in the poll.
“What I can only say is that we are ready for the elections next weekend and cannot comment on things that involve the Central Committee,” he said.