MOVES are underway in Zanu PF Harare and Mashonaland East provinces to oust chairpersons Amos Midzi and Ray Kaukonde for allegedly failing to campaign for President Robert Mugabe in the March and June presidential elections.
Impeccable sources told the Zimbabwe Independent that knives were out for Midzi and Kaukonde with Harare South legislator Hubert Nyanhongo and Mashonaland East governor Aeneas Chigwedere lined up to replace the two who are linked to a faction in Zanu PF reportedly led by ex-army commander Solomon Mujuru.
The Mujuru camp reportedly opposed Mugabe’s continued stay in power.
Speaking at a belated presidential election victory celebration for Mugabe in the June run-off at Harare Polytechnic on October 19, National Incomes and Pricing Commission chairperson, Goodwills Masimirembwa, said Zanu PF should flush out leaders who were not backing Mugabe, especially in Harare.
This, the sources said, was in apparent reference to Midzi.
Masimirembwa said the party should use its on-going restructuring exercise to remove such leaders.
“If you are a father and you have two children – the one is on position 1 in class and the other on 50, who is supposed to teach the other child homework?” he asked referring to Midzi’s defeat in parliamentary elections since 2000 to MDC’s Tapiwa Mashakada in Hatfield.
Masimirembwa questioned why Midzi should be allowed to remain provincial chairperson ahead of Nyanhongo, the only Zanu PF MP in Harare since 2000.
Midzi is being accused of decampaigning Mugabe in the March 29 harmonised elections, in which the MDC’s Morgan Tsvangirai outpolled Mugabe.
Speaking at the same celebrations, Nyanhongo questioned how Harare province had failed to mobilise supporters to attend the September 15 signing ceremony of an all-inclusive government deal between Mugabe, Tsvangirai and the president of the other formation of the MDC, Arthur Mutambara. He said this was a sign of poor leadership.
Nyanhongo said he was embarrassed to see Mugabe booed by MDC supporters.
He added that Zanu PF was aware of “traitors and sellouts” who should be dealt with before the party’s annual conference in December in Bindura, Mashonaland Central.
Nyanhongo said it was an open secret that Harare and Mashonaland East province did not endorse Mugabe’s bid at the Goromonzi conference in December 2006 to have his term extended to 2010.
“Sellouts must be shown the door before irredeemable harm is done to the revolutionary party,” said the deputy Transport minister.
In Mashonaland East, the sources said some Zanu PF officials loyal to Mugabe wanted Kaukonde to be ousted and replaced by Chigwedere, the former Education minister who took over from the businessman as governor of the province.
Kaukonde, the sources said, was accused of campaigning for Vice-President Joice Mujuru to become party president during the Goromonzi conference. Mugabe publicly reprimanded Kaukonde during the conference.
“Knives are out for Kaukonde,” one of the sources said. “There are moves to use the current restructuring exercise to remove him as chairperson of the province. We will see how it will go because Kaukonde has grassroots support and has done a lot in the province.”
By Constantine Chimakure/Tinashe Farawo