MUTARE – Zanu PF national political commissar, Saviour Kasukuwere, has shot down a request by Manicaland province to have the party’s parliamentarians linked to ousted secretary for administration, Didymus Mutasa, recalled and have the former party stalwart expelled from the former liberation party.
Kasukuwere told Studio7 in an interview after a provincial coordinating meeting that what the party has done in sidelining Mutasa and his colleagues is enough.
He said all suspended members would remain in the party.
He added that there were no plans of taking further action against the suspended individuals, at least for now.
Kasukuwere also blasted Mutasa and his cabal for bringing the Zanu PF name into disrepute by falsely claiming that he was unconstitutionally fired from his post.
There was uproar before the start of the meeting when some party members who were given a vote of no confidence refused to leave the conference room.
The Acting Manicaland party spokesperson, Samuel Undenge, told Kasukuwere, who was visiting the region with other politburo and central committee members, that the province had recommended that all members closely linked to former Vice President Joice Mujuru be booted out of the party and have by-elections in their constituencies.
Undenge told the visiting party members that Zanu PF should, in fact, expel everyone linked to the former vice president, who was accused of attempting to remove President Mugabe from power using unconstitutional means before the December Congress.
Mrs. Mujuru, Mutasa and their colleagues, who were removed from top posts before the party’s congress last month, have denied that they wanted to remove Mugabe from power.
Undenge said the Manicaland province also wants Zimbabwe to conduct a by-election in Chimanimani West currently held by former Deputy Energy Minister Munacho Mutezo.
Undenge said his province wants Zanu PF to expel Mutasa as he had acted outside the party’s norms by writing to the Southern African Development Community or SADC, discrediting the party’s December Congress.
Other Zanu PF Politburo members that attended today’s meeting included Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa, Higher Education Minister Oppah Muchinguri Kashiri, Kudzi Chipanga, Regional Minister Chris Mushowe and several others.
Meanwhile in Masvingo Kasukuwere told Zanu PF loyalists to shun divisive politicians, and restore the vibrancy of the party.
During special Provincial Coordinating Committee (PCC) meeting at Victoria Primary School in Masvingo, Kasukuwere urged members to observe discipline and unite towards nation-building through implementing government’s economic programmes.
He criticised some party bigwigs who abuse their authority by engaging in corrupt and divisive activities.
Ravaged by escalating factional and succession wars and fearing annihilation at the fast approaching 2018 national elections, Zanu PF has made a humiliating climbdown by moving to accommodate legislators perceived to be sympathetic to ousted former Vice President Joice Mujuru.
This stunning policy reversal was confirmed over the past few days as the party’s political commissar, Savior Kasukuwere, continued to scurry around the country preaching the new gospel of tolerance and camaraderie towards the previously shunned Members of Parliament.
A central committee member was emphatic yesterday that the “fake love” for the previously shunned MPs was allegedly a result of Zanu PF’s fear of losing the 2018 elections, as well as its quest to ward off the ominous challenge by the party’s liberation stalwarts to take President Robert Mugabe head-on.
“This is fake love for the MPs by the party which is in serious panic mode because of the challenge by (former Presidential Affairs minister Didymus) Mutasa and other party veterans, as well as the looming 2018 elections,” the senior party official told the Daily News.
Addressing, first, a Matabeleland South party meeting in Gwanda on Friday, Kasukuwere revealed that all MPs and senators who had been suspended from the party were now to be allowed to attend provincial coordinating committee (PCC) meetings as their suspension did not mean that they had been fired from the party.
His unexpected announcement followed a major ruckus in the region earlier this month when police had to be called to quell disturbances after “suspended” members were kicked out of a heated PCC meeting amid strenuous protests by the affected members.
To the surprise of many people gathered at the Friday meeting, Kasukuwere said the new party position was that only two Zanu PF members, former war veterans leader, Jabulani Sibanda, and former party spokesperson Rugare Gumbo, had been expelled from the party.
“We want our MPs. Like I said, we only expelled two … meaning that everyone else, if there is a meeting in the villages you sit there, listen and chant the slogan but you do not have a position, you sit with others.
“The district or branch chairperson will be your boss but if you are a Member of Parliament or senator, you come and attend a PCC meeting so that we push the party business because we did not fire our MPs from the party. This is the party position,” Kasukuwere said.
He also said that the party would only accept suspensions done before Zanu PF’s disputed congress that was held in Harare late last year, with any other suspensions that were carried after the damp squib “elective” congress to be nullified because they were not carried out in consultation with his office. Addressing a Manicaland PCC meeting along the same lines at Mutare Polytechnic yesterday, Kasukuwere openly admitted that the party had been ravaged by worsening infighting for some time — and reiterated that there would be no recall of MPs perceived to be aligned to Mujuru.
“Let us unite… let’s now get ready for the coming elections,” he said. Politburo member Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri also told the same meeting that the party would no longer pursue the estranged comrades, choosing instead to bury the hatchet while expecting the dissenters to reform at the same time. “There are some here who were at the fore-front of Gamatox,” Muchinguri-Kashiri said in apparent reference to suspended MP Enock Porusingazi who also attended the meeting.
“We cannot continue fighting. We now want to move forward. You just need to do self-introspection and amend your ways,” she said.
“Zanu PF inodya mazai ayo. Ikaona kuti warasika inokudzinga. Today it’s Mai Mujuru, Rugare Gumbo…mangwana ndiwe. (Zanu PF eats its own eggs. If it notices that you are losing your way, it will expel you. Today its Mujuru, Rugare Gumbo… tomorrow it’s you) if you are not careful,” Muchinguri-Kashiri added.
“All members who have not been expelled by the party remain in the party and retain their positions as MPs. Only two people were expelled from the party and that’s Rugare Gumbo and Jabulani Sibanda,” Kasukuwere underscored the point, adding that affected members would only face internal disciplinary action that would not affect their tenure as sitting MPs.
“Porusingazi has been suspended not expelled, hence he retains his seat,” Kasukuwere said and promptly went on to hug Porusingazi in full view of the gathered party members.
Meanwhile, Kasukuwere also said the politburo would determine the fate of the embattled Mutasa, amid a chorus of calls for him to be expelled from the party by his home province. “The province has given the recommendation and the highest decision-making body of the party will make a determination,” he said.
Muchinguri-Kashiri had earlier urged Kasukuwere to expeditiously take the province’s call for Mutasa’s expulsion to the politburo.
“Endai munotitaurirawo kuti vatibvisire Didymus Mutasa nekukasira. Tinoda kudealer naye zvakasimba kana politburo yatibatsira (Go and tell them on our behalf to quickly expel Didymus Mutasa. We want to deal with him strongly if the poltiburo helps us in that regard),” Muchinguri-Kashiri said.
In calling for the total expulsion of Mutasa from the party, acting Zanu PF provincial chairperson Samuel Undenge said Mutasa’s case needed to be treated as a special case separate from other suspensions.
“This is petitioned by his constituency asking for him to be recalled. We are treating the Headlands issue as a unique case and separately from other suspensions so that we completely remove Didymus Mutasa from Zanu PF,” he said. Undenge also said that there was a general feeling among Zanu PF members in the province that MPs accused of being aligned to the Mujuru faction had to be recalled.
“The feeling of our people is that these people should all be recalled,” he said, adding that there was another petition from Chimanimani West calling for the recall of former Energy deputy minister Munacho Mutezo.
But a disgruntled member who spoke to the Daily News said being subjected to an internal disciplinary process was still an “unnecessary ritual” considering that the charges they faced had been trumped up.
He described the mooted disciplinary processes as “just a face saver after all the allegations that were flying around”.
“They obviously can’t just call it quits, so they are now talking of this unnecessary ritual of disciplinary processes, they just need to try and find closure to the whole process,” the official said.
Meanwhile, a candidate sponsored by Zanu PF political commissar Saviour Kasukuwere to replace Joice Mujuru as MP for Mt Darwin West came third in the internal party poll with the ex-vice president pulling a shocker.
Caleb Karima, a Kasukuwere protégé, failed to land the ticket to represent Zanu PF in the March 27 by-elections after he managed just above 2,000 votes against the 4,000 polled by Barnwell Seremwe, the eventual winner and suspected Mujuru ally.
Despite pouring in cash and putting up a well-oiled campaign machinery for Karima, Kasukuwere failed to force party members in the constituency to vote for his candidate.
Mashonaland Central provincial chair, Dickson Mafios, confirmed that Seremwa, would represent Zanu PF in the forthcoming by-elections.
“We are currently at party headquarters submitting the results of the elections to the political commissar Cde Kasukuwere (Saviour). Yes Seremwe won, but I cannot talk much on that issue until the PC makes an announcement,” Mafios said.
According to insiders, the Mt Darwin West primary elections were a fight between Mujuru, Kasukuwere and Gokwe-Nembudziya MP Justice Mayor Wadyajena.
“Wadyajena funded Godfrey Tsenengamu to be the MP and he did so as a way to belittle Kasukuwere following their fall out in March last year. But Tsenengamu also failed and came second just over 3,000 votes,” said a party insider.
Tsenengamu is the provincial youth chair and was once suspended in the party in the run-up to the youth conference.
He was also a top Grace Mugabe ally and helped bring down Mujuru.
The provincial youth chair travelled with the First Lady countrywide and led attacks on Mujuru saying she was corrupt and wanted to assassinate Mugabe.
Mt Darwin West was declared vacant after Mujuru was been appointed a vice president in September 2013.
She however, lost her government post last year after being accused of corruption and plotting to assassinate President Robert Mugabe.
According to results availed, Seremwe received 4,625 votes while close contender, Tsenengamu got 3,653 with Karima managing 2640 votes and Khumbulani Banda, a council chairperson for Mt Darwin rural district council, receiving 2,027 votes.– Plus VOANEWS