ZANU PF spokesman Rugare Gumbo yesterday warned party supporters and officials against being “misled” by Information, Media and Broadcasting Services minister, Jonathan Moyo.
BY PAIDAMOYO MUZULU
Gumbo said he was the only competent person to articulate the party position regarding the vacant Manicaland senatorial seat which had been earmarked for former Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor, Gideon Gono.
The Zanu PF politburo is this week expected to decide what course of action to take after the Justice Rita Makarau-led Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) turned down Gono’s nomination to fill the vacant senatorial seat citing non-compliance with the Electoral Act.
Gono last week claimed that his recent disqualification by ZEC to stand as Manicaland senator was engineered by his political detractors as part of the ongoing faction fights rocking the ruling Zanu PF party.
He said his detractors threw spanners along his way after he had followed all the necessary procedures. In response, Moyo wrote a stinging statement saying Gono was desperate to become a senator and was pointing at factionalism in the party when the legal position was clear that he did not qualify.
“This explains why he has become so emotional and reckless about his comments to the point of displaying his ignorance of the law in public,” Moyo said.
“It is preposterous and objectionable in the extreme for Dr Gono to claim that he is “remaining out of all factions except that of and led by the President. President Mugabe does not have and does not lead a faction. The President leads Zanu-PF, the Government and the nation of Zimbabwe.”
But Gumbo said he was the sole spokesperson for Zanu PF.
“The only spokesman of the party is myself. I haven’t said anything about Gono and the politburo will sit to decide the way forward. Media should not read much into the minister’s statement,” Gumbo said.
“The politburo will be seized with the matter at its next meeting and map the way forward and that is the position as of now.”
Asked if Moyo and others as well as the party’s legal department headed by Justice minister, Emmerson Mnangagwa had offered any dissenting views during the politburo meeting that decided Gono was to be the party’s nominee, Gumbo refused to comment.
“We don’t discuss matters or deliberations of the politburo with the media and for that reason, I will not speak on what happened behind closed doors,” he said.
Mnangagwa, who is linked to a faction that is competing against another one reportedly loyal to vice-president Joice Mujuru in the race to succeed President Robert Mugabe, is the secretary for legal affairs.
It could not be established if Mnangagwa’s department had noted the technical flaws of the nomination before they were spelt out by Makarau. Mnangagwa’s deputy in Zanu PF is another legal guru and former Attorney-General, Patrick Chinamasa.
While Gumbo could not give a specific date, it is widely expected that the politburo could meet as early as Wednesday this week.
Gono yesterday said he had no comment to make about the issue.
Zanu PF secretary of administration Didymus Mutasa was also not immediately available for comment. But he was recently quoted saying the ruling party would push for the amending of the law to accommodate Gono since the politburo had made its decision.
Gono is believed to be in Mujuru’s faction, along with Mutasa and Gumbo. He however denied it, insisting he belonged to Mugabe’s faction. On the other hand, Moyo is seen as the brains in the Mnangagwa camp.
Political analyst Ibbo Mandaza said Moyo’s statement could be read along factional lines because a legal position had been pronounced by Makarau.
“Moyo is capitalising on Makarau’s statement and trying to use it to score political points on an issue which is clearly legal and this is where factionalism comes into context,” Mandaza said.
Mugabe returned home yesterday from New York where he was attending the 69th session of the UN General Assembly and made an impassioned plea for discipline among the Zanu PF bigwigs. He said party officials were divided and openly clashing ahead of the party’s elective congress set for December.
Mugabe told hundreds of Zanu PF supporters at Harare International Airport on arrival from New York that party leaders should end their fights as the congress beckons.
He warned that Zanu PF leaders who were putting the party’s name into disrepute would be disciplined.