President Robert Mugabe has banned Zanu PF rival factions in the volatile Mashonaland Central province from holding meetings as the battle to push the party’s commissar Saviour Kasukuwere took a dramatic twist.
BY XOLISANI NCUBE
Mugabe’s intervention on April 14, however, failed to stop the ruling party from descending into chaos in Harare, where violence broke out between rival camps yesterday.
Zanu PF has been on the edge for the past month after a coterie linked to controversial businessman Jimayi Muduvuri began a campaign against Bulawayo Provincial Affairs minister Eunice Sandi Moyo and Hurungwe East MP Sarah Mahoka.
The duo was accused of plotting against first lady Grace Mugabe and has since been forced to relinquish their women’s league posts.
After the success of the plot against Moyo and Mahoka, the guns were turned to Kasukuwere, who is accused of plotting to unseat Mugabe.
However, the 93-year-old ruler has tried to shield the Local Government minister first by trying to stop demonstrations against him and the latest move to ban meetings in his home province.
Kasukuwere wrote a letter to Mashonaland Central provincial chairperson Dickson Mafios and his deputy Kazembe Kazembe.
The two had organised rival meetings during the ongoing Easter and Independence Day holidays as the two main Zanu PF factions sought to outdo each other.
“It has come to the attention of the party leadership that there are a series of parallel inter-districts meetings that have been lined up to take place in Mashonaland Central province during the current Easter and Independence holidays separately led by Cde Itai Dickson Mafios in his capacity as Mashonaland central provincial chairperson and Cde Kazembe Kazembe in his capacity as vice-provincial chairperson,” read part of the letter to the two seen by The Standard yesterday.
.“The party leadership has directed that these meetings should stop forthwith in order to allow the party membership in the province to forge unity of purpose as the nation celebrates the Easter and Independence holidays.”
Mashonaland Central Provincial Affairs minister, Martin Dinha in a WhatsApp message shared by Zanu PF members claimed that he had met Mugabe in person to receive instructions on the ban.
“Cdes and friends I have advised law enforcement agents as Minister of State in the President’s Office to enforce a ban on all meetings be they PEC (provincial executive committee) or PCC (provincial co-ordinating committee) or Inter district meetings in Mashonaland Central Province by Cde ID Mafios and Cde Kazembe Kazembe and their executives with immediate effective,” read part of the message.
“This follows the directive I got from the President Cde R.G Mugabe today.
“I have written to the concerned parties and copied to National political commissar and national secretary for admin at Zanu PF. I am aware they have similar instructions from the president.”
Dinha said Mugabe had indicated that complaints against Kasukuwere and Mafios had been received by the party’s leadership and would be handled by the politburo.
Two weeks ago party supports and Mashonaland Central villagers picketed against Kasukuwere and Mafios accusing them of various acts of misconduct which they all deny and demanded that they be removed from the party.
Dinha has publicly called for Kasukuwere and Mafios’ dismissal from Zanu PF, accusing them of factionalism.
Sources last week told The Standard that the minister’s problems had nothing to do with factionalism in Zanu PF but was as a result of a dispute he had with Muduvuri of land worth $20 million in Norton.
Kasukuwere allocated Muduvuri the land for a housing project but withdrew it months later.
The businessman, who has been bankrolling Grace’s projects, had allegedly roped in state resident’s director Innocent Tizora into his project.
After failing to use their influence to get the land back the two allegedly produced a dossier alleging that Kasukuwere wanted to topple Mugabe.
A faction linked to Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa was roped into pile pressure on the minister who belongs to a rival faction known as G40.
It has since emerged that more Zanu PF officials linked to Kasukuwere are now being targeted in a purge that is meant to weaken g40.
Meanwhile, attempts to remove Harare political commissar, Shadreck Mashayamombe turned violent yesterday with two warring camps attacking each other with stones at the party’s provincial offices.
The youths who arrived at the party’s provincial headquarters threw stones at each other endangering passers-by in the process and vehicles.
So fierce was the battle such that one passer-by was hit with a brick on the head.
Mashayamombe is accused of being a Kasukuwere. The Harare South MP blamed the skirmishes on former Harare Zanu PF youth chairperson Godwin Gomwe.
“Our youths led by provincial chairperson Edison Takataka went to the provincial headquarters after being tipped that Gomwe was mobilising people to demonstrate against me and Kasukuwere,” he said. “This was after the youth checked with the provincial chairperson Charles Tawengwa if he was aware of the meeting and his answer was negative.”
Mashayamombe said the youths had no choice but to defend the party from expelled members whose eventual target was Mugabe.
“It is not a secret that Gomwe burnt the first lady’s t-shirts in public, endorsed Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa to take over and threatened to deal with President Mugabe.
“At first value they are targeting Kasukuwere and Mashayamombe but their real target is President Mugabe. That is why they are attacking everyone supporting the president.”
He said Gomwe who was already at the party headquarters when Takataka and the youths arrived retreated with his group of youths and women.
Gomwe and his youths then allegedly charged at Takataka’s group with stones. Takataka’s group then retaliated turning the area around the Fourth Street bus terminus into a war zone.
Commuter omnibuses were forced to flee the scene as the stone throwing intensified.
Zanu PF supporters circulated messages on WhatsApp purportedly originating from Gomwe indicated that Kasukuwere and his allies must be forced out of the party by Thursday.