HARARE – Zanu PF insiders say President Robert Mugabe is in a catch 22 as the warring ruling party’s bigwigs gather in Harare tomorrow for an eagerly-awaited politburo meeting — which is set to deliberate on the political future of embattled national political commissar Saviour Kasukuwere.
This comes as the Daily News reported at the weekend that a probe team which was appointed by the wily nonagenarian — to investigate grave allegations against the under-fire Local Government minister — had completed its work.
Ahead of tomorrow’s crunch meeting — where Mugabe will require the biblical wisdom of Solomon to stem Zanu PF’s worsening, mindless bloodletting — Kasukuwere’s backers have claimed that the Jacob Mudenda-led party probe has exonerated him on most of the allegations he faces, including charges that he was working to topple Mugabe from power.
But, and as expected, Kasukuwere’s enemies are insistent that the combative commissar is “a dead man walking”, and that it is now “a matter of time” before he is relieved of his duties in the former liberation movement which is consumed by its ugly tribal, factional and succession wars.
This is the unpleasant climate in which Mugabe will be called upon to make a decisive ruling, as Kasukuwere also comes face to face for the first time with many of the senior party officials — drawn from the party’s 10 provinces — who supported calls for him to be relieved of his duties at both party and government levels.
Well-placed sources confirmed to the Daily News yesterday that after Mudenda recently submitted his report to both Mugabe and Zanu PF secretary for administration Ignatius Chombo, the Kasukuwere matter was now “ready for dissection” at tomorrow’s politburo.
The usually reliable insiders also claimed that Mudenda’s report “cleared” Kasukuwere of the most serious charge that he has been facing — that of plotting to oust Mugabe from power.
“While there are other issues being raised in the petition from Mashonaland Central, the key issue was probably that of the setting up of parallel structures which the PCC (provincial coordinating committee) failed to identify, and which could prove to be his (Kasukuwere’s) way out of trouble.
“Nevertheless, there are other issues regarding the Kitsiyatota Mine that might not please the president . . . It is now up to him (Mugabe) to decide,” one of the insiders said.
However, one of Kasukuwere’s party rivals told the Daily News that there was “no way back” for him, as all the former liberation movement’s provinces had sent a “clear message that he is no longer wanted”.
“Remember there are other provinces that have passed votes of no confidence against the PC. So, those cases ought to be heard again . . . it’s game on.
“Masvingo, for example, has written a petition to say it no longer has confidence in his (Kasukuwere’s) leadership, and we expect that to be considered.
“How can he therefore be exonerated on the basis of one province, when the calls for his dismissal are nationwide?” the senior party official said.
University of Zimbabwe political science lecturer Eldred Masunungure said while Mugabe would try to appease the Zanu PF heavyweights pushing for Kasukuwere’s sacking, the nonagenarian was unlikely to jettison him.
Masunungure said Mugabe would, in the worst case scenario, re-deploy the Mount Darwin South legislator to another senior party portfolio.
“I doubt he (Kasukuwere) will be chopped . . . but the party may redeploy him to another portfolio and this will be a way of dealing with people’s anger.
“It won’t be another (former vice president Joice) Mujuru case . . . He will survive as a politburo member . . . because as you know, this issue is about factional fights. Mugabe regards Kasukuwere as an asset. He may have messed up, but he will survive the chop,” Masunungure told the Daily News.
Kasukuwere has been fighting to save his political career over the past few weeks, with angry Zanu PF supporters pushing for his ouster from both his party and government positions, over a raft of charges which include allegedly plotting to topple Mugabe from power.
Also under fire has been his brother Dickson Mafios, who is the acting Zanu PF chairperson for Mashonaland Central.
Apart from having to deal with Kasukuwere’s saga, sources say Mugabe and his colleagues are also expected to deal with the contested results of the Masvingo provincial chairmanship election, which was comprehensively won by an alleged Team Lacoste candidate, Ezra Chadzamira — who walloped Mutero Masanganise who had pulled out from the mini internal poll days before polling, citing a number of irregularities.
Masanganise told the Daily News yesterday that he was hopeful the politburo would “deal with” the burning Masvingo issue decisively.
“I am waiting for the politburo to deliberate on the issue. For me, there was no election done to choose the Masvingo chairperson,” he said.
Masanganise — who is linked to the embattled Generation 40 (G40) faction, which in turn is opposed to Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa succeeding Mugabe — pulled out of the Masvingo poll re-run arguing that it was illegal.
Mugabe and the politburo had nullified the results from the initial regional poll, which was won by Chadzamira — amid claims of irregularities, including people not voting in some districts.
Chadzamira, who is the former regional chairman and an alleged Mnangagwa backer, crushed Masanganise then — polling 12 393 votes against his opponent’s 4 888, amid the allegations of rigging and failure by people in Mwenezi and some parts of Chiredzi to vote.
Sources have previously told the Daily News that Zanu PF’s ever-fluid factional and succession politics were changing gear again, as there was now an apparent realignment of alliances within the warring former liberation movement — as Mnangagwa’s allies cranked up their assault on the G40.
Observers have also consistently said Mugabe’s failure to resolve Zanu PF’s thorny succession riddle is fuelling the ruling party’s deadly infighting, which is worsening by the day.
The 93-year-old has studiously refused to name a successor, insisting that the party’s congress has that mandate: to choose a person of their own choice. – Daily News