HARARE – Zanu PF’s ugly tribal, factional and succession tussles boiled over into deadly violence in Harare yesterday when party supporters from opposing camps turned on each other and against police over embattled national political commissar Saviour Kasukuwere.
The clashes occurred despite President Robert Mugabe’s reported calls for all party structures to end the current push to fire the Local Government minister and his brother Dickson Mafios, among other targeted officials.
Witnesses said the confrontations took place at the party’s provincial offices in the capital, as a group that was planning a media conference to press for Kasukuwere’s ouster ran into the under fire Zanu PF national commissar’s sympathisers.
Party provincial commissar, Shadreck Mashayamombe, confirmed the clashes to the Daily News on Sunday and fingered former youth leader Godwin Gomwe in the violence.
“What I heard was that party youths got word that there were messages that were circulating from Gomwe who was planning demonstrations, and the youths decided to confront that group, since the president (Mugabe) has said there should no longer be any demonstrations,” he said.
“I was told that Gomwe’s team arrived in kombis, but were blocked by the youths who are the guardians of the party, as they wanted the president’s message to be followed. I also heard that these people were also targeting me. How can Gomwe plan demonstrations when he was expelled from the party?” Mashayamombe said.
“These people are not only defying the president, they are also no longer in the party. They are in effect targeting the president and are not happy that we have endorsed him (Mugabe) to be our presidential candidate for 2018,” the Zanu PF member of parliament and Kasukuwere’s ally said.
But the rival group claimed violence had started when the boisterous Mount Darwin South legislator’s supporters stormed the party’s Harare provincial headquarters, and press conference venue “demanding to know the other group’s handlers”.
In the aftermath of the violence, stones and bricks littered the area around the party’s provincial offices yesterday.
On the other hand, party spokesperson Simon Khaya Moyo said yesterday he was “not aware of that (violent clashes) at all (as) nobody came to me with that”.
In the meantime, Mashayamombe’s claims that yesterday’s foiled demonstration comprised “rented crowds from other districts or places” and which resonates with Mafios’ statement that recent demonstrations against him, and his equally embattled brother in Bindura had been staged by some Zanu PF dissidents, if not elements expelled from the fractured party, and linked to the ex-gamatox faction.
As Zanu PF’s succession wars continue to rage, Mashonaland Central regional minister, Martin Dinha, revealed recently that he had received death threats from his party enemies.
The alleged threats came days after the trained lawyer had publicly endorsed Kasukuwere and Mafios’ expulsion.
“First they (his Zanu PF enemies) manufactured a statement purporting that it was mine . . . and now they are sending threats to kill me on my roaming lines,” Dinha said.
“A female and a male called me and said usada kufira mahara (don’t die for nothing) using private numbers. They said ‘you have a family, be careful what you say’,” he claimed further.
Although once linked to ousted former vice president and now leader of the opposition National People’s Party (NPP), Joice Mujuru, Dinha is now said to be very close to the first family — a development that his associates claim has displeased some party bigwigs.
In 2015, the Mashonaland Central provincial affairs minister also received an AK47 bullet and a threatening message telling him to step down or risk suffering the same fatal fate that befell the late Zanu PF political commissar, Elliot Manyika — who died in a suspicious car accident in 2008.
Well-placed Zanu PF sources told the Daily News on Sunday at the time that “the parcel” with the bullet and threatening message was delivered to the minister’s office just after midnight — forcing the lawyer-turned-politician, a lightweight in Zanu PF, to go into hiding”.
Dinha has also previously survived several other attempts to oust him from his ministerial post.
Worryingly for warring Zanu PF bigwigs, this was not the first time that a minister had received death threats.
Last year, two Cabinet ministers had also received death threats as the former liberation movement’s seemingly unstoppable ructions become more intractable.
First, Sports minister Makhosini Hlongwane found a bullet in his hotel room in Harare. The bullet had been placed on a headboard in the room.
Then Indigenisation minister Patrick Zhuwao — who is Mugabe’s nephew — also received death threats related to his public criticism of Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa and his supporters in the run-up to Zanu PF’s annual conference which was held in Masvingo late last year. – Daily News