Panic in Cabinet . . . as ZANU-PF infighting explodes

via Panic in Cabinet . . . as ZANU-PF infighting explodes | The Financial Gazette – Zimbabwe News 25 Jun 2015

CADRES in the ruling party were left stunned this week following President Robert Mugabe’s unceremonious dismissal of Jonathan Moyo from government on Tuesday after he had resoundingly won the Tsholotsho North by-election a fortnight ago.
The President, who works within the same building with Moyo, with whom he is said to have interacted since the now-former information minister’s victory at the by-election polls on June 10, was said to have waited until this week’s Cabinet meeting to inform the Tsholotsho North lawmaker that he was no longer a member of Cabinet.
Moyo’s victory was seen as spiting President Mugabe who had appointed him a non-constituency Member of Parliament before he proceeded to appoint him a minister in his bloated government.
Moyo had lost the 2013 election to Rosemary Sipepa-Nkomo, then a member of Morgan Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T) party before joining the break-away MDC Renewal Team last year.
The by-election was caused by a recall from Parliament of MDC Renewal Team members by Tsvangirai’s party, which argued that its former MPs who had joined the splinter group no longer represented its interests in the august House.
President Mugabe is said to have been displeased by Moyo’s decision to ditch the non-constituency appointment, which many within the ruling party view as unappealing, for a contested position in Tsholotsho without informing his principal.
The trigger to Moyo’s participation was a tweet by the ZANU-PF national political commissar, Saviour Kasukuwere, urging Moyo to reclaim the “lost” Tsholotsho North constituency for the party.
Moyo had obliged, and went on to win by a record margin in the 16 by-elections boycotted by all the MDC formations.
Sources within the ruling party said the dismissal of Moyo, which was made the more embarrassing by the platform from which it was made, had shocked many within the party, including the two Vice-Presidents who appeared uninformed of the President’s decision.
It has generated speculation that the veteran ZANU-PF leader might effect a reshuffle of his Cabinet, which for the first time since it was constituted in 2013 could also target cadres who have nothing to do with former vice president Joice Mujuru’s faction.
This could signal a significant twist to the dynamics in ZANU-PF in which the run of play has been against Mujuru and her allies since September last year.
Despite having vanquished Mujuru and her backers through suspensions and expulsions from both the party and government, relations among the architects of the former vice president’s downfall have been strained amid indications that new factional forces have emerged.
ZANU-PF had been split into two camps competing to succeed President Mugabe namely that led by Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa and the other by Mujuru.
Pursuant to Mujuru’s downfall, other centres of power are said to have emerged. There is the so-called Generation 40, which seeks to renew ZANU-PF from within and another faction campaigning for a reluctant First Lady, Grace Mugabe.
In the weeks leading to Tuesday’s events, there have been spirited attempts to clip Moyo’s wings amid allegations that he was using the public media to target his nemeses.
President Mugabe’s spontaneous dismissal of Moyo from a Cabinet meeting appeared to reassert the ZANU-PF leader as a conundrum, and could probably perplex any of his comrades who may have thought to have been close confidantes.
President Mugabe had publicly commended Moyo for his role in his party’s landslide victory at the August 31, 2013 polls, which significantly destabilised the opposition and precipitated the second major split of former Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC-T party.
Moyo is largely viewed as one of the chief architects of a purge that led to the ouster of Mujuru and her loyalists from the party.
Mnangagwa and Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko emerged as the biggest beneficiaries of Mujuru’s catastrophic fall.
Although some members of the party felt Moyo and some of his colleagues had begun working against Mnangagwa’s prospect to succeed President Mugabe in the event that he resigned, this has been vehemently denied by members working for Mnangagwa’s faction, who told the Financial Gazette that Kasukuwere and Moyo were still very much “buddies of the VP”.
The confounding thing about the latest development is that Moyo is said to have been motivated to contest in Tsholotsho North to create a non-constituency vacancy for the First Lady, Grace Mugabe, who was appointed secretary for women’s affairs at ZANU PF’s last congress and has failed to get a Cabinet appointment for lack of a Parliamentary seat.
Kasukuwere declined to comment on the developments when contacted yesterday, saying he was not the party’s spokesman.
The Financial Gazette had asked him about plans to have Grace Mugabe taking up the non-constituency seat, and the sacking of Moyo when he had been part of an arrangement to facilitate the First Lady’s entry into Parliament.
“I cannot comment. That is the prerogative of the President. I am sorry I cannot comment. My job is to ensure ZANU-PF wins elections. I am not the party spokesman,” Kasukuwere said.
National party spokesman, Simon Khaya-Moyo, said the dismissal of Moyo was government business and he could therefore not comment.
“The best person to comment is comrade George Charamba,” he said, referring to President Mugabe’s spokesman and permanent secretary in the Ministry of Media, Information and Broadcasting Services.
Asked about plans to have Grace Mugabe appointed a non-constituency MP to facilitate her appointment into Cabinet, Khaya-Moyo said: “I have no idea about that.”
Contacted for comment, Charamba said: “I’m sorry I cannot comment. I’m in a meeting.”
It had been suggested days before Moyo’s removal from office that the process to appoint Grace Mugabe a non-constituency MP had started, although some sources had suggested President Mugabe’s wife wanted a contested position to demonstrate her popularity.
One source said the First Lady was eyeing the Mazowe South constituency currently occupied by Fortune Chasi, who was dismissed from government where he was a deputy minister of justice for allegedly supporting Mujuru.
Chasi has, however, survived the purges in the ruling party, which has resulted in the suspension or expulsion of several members, some of whom have also been recalled from Parliament.
So far, Chasi’s parliamentary position is secure, but even if a vacancy was to be created by firing him, Grace Mugabe would have to transfer her name from the Highfield register to Mazowe South to be able to contest elections in that constituency.
That would mean separating her name from those of other members of her family, who are all registered voters in Highfield.
That process might turn out to be controversial, and could take time.
Yet President Mugabe is being held from filling the Minister of Women’s Affairs, Gender and Community Development position in his government because his wife, tipped for the position, is not yet an MP.
The position has been vacant since a Cabinet reshuffle that followed the ZANU-PF congress in December.
Now that there is a vacant slot in Parliament, President Mugabe could still appoint his wife a non-constituency MP as a precursor to her appointment into Cabinet.
Should he feel that his wife is better suited for another portfolio that is not Women’s Affairs, Gender and Community Development, he may precipitate a Cabinet reshuffle to make that happen.
newsdesk@fingaz.co.zw

COMMENTS

WORDPRESS: 2
  • comment-avatar
    grabmore 7 years ago

    Does anybody in Govt know what is happening?

  • comment-avatar
    Tjingababili 7 years ago

    Enjoy while it lasts! The natives are fast asleep. Amazing Grace, how sweet thou art!