Robert Mugabe sets his loyalists against each other

HARARE – Brawling Zanu PF factions are said to be “thoroughly confused” by President Robert Mugabe’s directive that all Mashonaland Central structures stop holding demonstrations and divisive  counter meetings against each other.

Insiders who spoke to the Daily News yesterday said Mugabe’s directive — ostensibly meant to give party bigwigs the space to determine the fate of under-fire national political commissar Saviour Kasukuwere — had left many people unsure about how the cunning Zanu PF leader wanted to proceed on the matter.

Kasukuwere and his brother Dickson Mafios — who is Zanu PF’s acting chairperson for Mashonaland Central — stand accused of plotting to oust Mugabe from power and fanning the warring ruling party’s deadly factionalism, among a litany of other allegations.

“Many people are now thoroughly confused about what is really going on in the party on this (Kasukuwere) matter, as Gushungo (Mugabe) has been indicating left and right at the same time.

“The safest thing for everyone to do right now is to wait and see where he (Mugabe) is really going with this thing,” one bigwig lamented to the Daily News.

This comes as the Zanu PF youth league in Harare says it is fully behind Kasukuwere — adding that as far as youths in the capital are concerned, the Local Government minister has not done anything wrong to warrant his dismissal from his party post.

Until Mugabe’s recent intervention, Kasukuwere’s Zanu PF career had hung in the balance as his party enemies bayed for his blood and systematically worked for his demise — in the same manner former Vice President Joice Mujuru was chased out of the troubled former liberation movement in 2014.

This had resulted in several anti-Kasukuwere demonstrations being mounted in provinces such as Mashonaland Central, Masvingo and Midlands.

And evidently buoyed by the events of the past few weeks, Kasukuwere’s Zanu PF enemies attempted to ratchet up the pressure on him by organising a press conference in Harare at the weekend at the party’s provincial offices, to announce their support for his ouster.

This resulted in deadly violence in the capital after they were stopped from doing so by the Mount Darwin South legislator’s party sympathisers, who mainly comprised party youths.

Speaking to the Daily News after the intra-party violence had been broken by police, Harare provincial youth chairperson, Edson Takataka, declared his executive’s support for Kasukuwere, describing him as “an extremely capable leader”.

“He is our PC (political commissar) who was appointed by our beloved president. So, we have great respect for him and they (his enemies) should leave him in peace.

“He has done a lot of good work which explains why party programmes in the province are running smoothly and for that we love him and have a duty to protect him from some rowdy elements hired from outside the party by elements that have a sinister agenda to destabilise us,” Takataka said.

He also accused former party officials who are now allegedly aligned to the party faction rallying behind Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s mooted presidential aspirations — among them Godfrey Gomwe — of masterminding the weekend fracas.

“Gomwe is not a member of Zanu PF and we are puzzled as to what he is up to, because he hired individuals who are also not members of the party to cause the chaos at our offices.

“We are at a loss as to what they wanted to achieve by coming to the provincial office when Kasukuwere is a national executive member. What business does the province have to do with that?

“As Harare, we have no issue with the PC. If anything, he is an extremely capable leader and the results are there for all to see if one considers how we moblise for party and national functions.

“Just wait and see on Tuesday (tomorrow) how we have moblised for Independence Day celebrations.

“We are on high alert as youths for any attempt to cause trouble in the province. But we don’t want violence and so we will work with the police to ensure attempts similar to those they made at the weekend are not repeated,” he added.

This also comes after Mugabe directed Zanu PF’s Mashonaland Central structures at the weekend to stop holding the divisive meetings.

Mafios welcomed Mugabe’s directive yesterday, adding that it was also wrong for his and Kasukuwere’s party foes to have announced a new, parallel leadership in Mashonaland Central when the duo’s case had not yet been mediated and concluded.

“The president’s intervention is healthy for the party because this had created chaos not only here but also countrywide where overzealous people were rushing things before their petitions have been dealt with by the politburo.

“And to have gone a step further and announce a new provincial leadership as if to suggest that they have already won was very wrong.

“The party has rules which must be respected and that is what the president as the only centre of power has now rightly directed,” Mafios said. – Daily News

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