HARARE – Tensions within Zanu PF have escalated with party national political commissar Saviour Kasukuwere accusing Gokwe-Nembudziya MP Justice Mayor Wadyajena of abusing Parliament to settle political scores on behalf of “certain political powers from Midlands”.
By XOLISANI NCUBE
Parliamentary sources said a leaked letter written by Zanu PF chief whip Joram Gumbo to Kasukuwere last week showed that the party’s political commissar was not happy with the way Wadyajena was targeting him in investigations by the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Youth, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment.
A source said Kasukuwere had a strong belief that Wadyajena, the chairperson of the committee, was abusing parliamentary processes and privileges to settle political fights through the “so-called investigations into the manner he handled the community share ownership scheme as well as youth funds”.
It is understood that Kasukuwere approached Gumbo requesting that Wadyajena, believed to be a strong ally of Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa, be removed as committee chair or “the province will not be supported in all its political bids”.
Mnangagwa, touted as President Robert Mugabe’s preferred successor, is from Midlands province, raising speculation that Wadyajena was doing the Vice-President’s bidding.
Kasukuwere was reportedly at loggerheads with a faction aligned Mnangagwa, as he was said to be fronting a
group of young politicians called Generation 40.
In response to Kasukuwere’s complaints, Gumbo wrote a letter, copied to the Speaker of the National Assembly Jacob Mundenda, saying the minister was “lost in his assumptions that Wadyajena was being used by politicians from Midlands”.
According to the letter sent to Kasukuwere’s party offices last week and gleaned by NewsDay, the political commissar accused Wadyajena of conducting his duties in an irresponsible way, vowing that if he was not removed from the chairmanship, the province would not receive support from his office.
Gumbo replied in his letter: “[The] utterances you make are on Hon Justice Mayor Wadyajena’s committee operations, which have nothing to do with the Midlands province.
“Parliamentary committee matters have nothing to do with a province; you were once a chairperson of a Parliamentary committee before and you are very much aware how committees operate. As a province, we supported you as the national political commissar and we find your utterances that if we do not support you, ‘you will see’ as unfortunate.”
Gumbo yesterday confirmed being approached by Kasukuwere over the Wadyajena issue, but refused to disclose what they discussed, referring questions to Mudenda.
“I am sorry, anything to do with any committee chairperson, ask the Speaker,” Gumbo said.
“You have what you have there, but I cannot discuss anything further than to say talk to the Speaker.”
Mudenda also confirmed receiving Gumbo’s letter, but declined to discuss its contents, saying he had not written it and had no mandate to talk about it.
“Why not ask the author of the letter? I am not the one who wrote it, the chief whip, Honourable Gumbo, is the right person to talk about it, not me,” he said.
Sources said Kasukuwere, now Environment, Water and Climate minister, was miffed at the manner Wadyajena was handling his Parliamentary issues and wanted him removed.
Party insiders claimed Wadyajena has been targeting Kasukuwere since 2013.
The investigations centred on money that was meant for community share ownership trusts.
Mudenda stopped a bid to have Kasukuwere questioned by Wadyajena’s committee last year, ruling that “it was not a criminal investigation to warrant the minister’s appearance since he had left the portfolio and the current minister, (then Francis Nhema), should respond”.
But Wadyajena, according to party insiders, still wanted Kasukuwere to appear before his committee to explain the management of youth funds and operations around government’s community share ownership schemes.
Both Kasukuwere and Wadyajena could not be reached for comment as their mobile phones were off. – NewsDay