Manicaland chairman John Mvundura was yesterday deposed by his provincial executive, barely 72 hours after the politburo resolved to give him a written reprimand for allegedly fanning factionalism in the party.
BY OBEY MANAYITI /PAIDAMOYO MUZULU
Mvundura becomes the sixth provincial chairperson aligned to the Mujuru faction to be kicked out in a well-orchestrated move designed to rid the party of potential opposition to President Robert Mugabe’s life-presidency at the December congress.
The other deposed leaders are Amos Midzi (Harare), Andrew Langa (Matabeleland South), Temba Mliswa (Mashonaland West), Jason Machaya (Midlands) and Callisto Gwanetsa (Masvingo).
The politburo, at its stormy meeting, also suspended the secretary for information and publicity Rugare Gumbo for five years and summarily expelled war veterans’ leader Jabulani Sibanda. Chipinge South MP Enock Porusingazi was also suspended for five years at the same meeting.
Information deputy minister and Zanu PF Manicaland provincial spokesman Supa Mandiwanzira issued a statement late yesterday afternoon.
Mandiwanzira said, “We the undersigned provincial main wing executive members having met in Mutare to deliberate the ongoing affairs and dissatisfied with the conduct and performance of the provincial chairman John Mvundura, his deputy Elliot Kasu and secretary for commissariat James Kaunye — we hereby pass a vote of no confidence by appending our signatures below.”
Mandiwanzira further announced that, “Samuel Undenge is the new acting provincial chairperson.”
The trio was accused of among other things, pursuing a factional agenda in the leadership of the province, undermining the authority of President Mugabe and appearing aloof during Grace Mugabe’s Sakubva rally — common accusations used to oust Mujuru’s loyalists.
Mvundura was further accused of working with expelled war veterans’ leader Jabulani Sibanda who threatened to march to State House at a meeting at Matumba during an aborted reburial of liberation fighters.
The decision is expected to be ratified at next week’s politburo meeting.
Mvundura said he was not aware of the resolution to boot him out, saying he was still waiting for a letter from Zanu PF containing resolutions on him from Thursday’s politburo meeting.
“The leadership of Manicaland was discussed in the politburo and it was resolved to write a letter to me and I don’t know of this vote of no confidence. I will only accept the decision that was made by the politburo and not this,” he said last night.
“If they had thought of a vote of no confidence, they should have done that before the politburo. I will stick to the politburo and not this.”
The suspensions have sent the Mujuru faction into panic mode with some of the VP’s allies taking a backseat following the latest developments. For example, in Masvingo, outspoken former provincial women’s league chairperson, Shylet Uyoyo, whose vote of no confidence was upheld by the politburo, refused to take any questions yesterday, despite being considered “the iron lady of Masvingo”.
“I cannot comment on that at the moment,” she said.
Gwanetsa’s cellphone was switched off, and the same applied with the former Masvingo youth chair Oliver Huruva, whose vote of no confidence was also upheld by the politburo.
The purging of Mujuru loyalists started last month soon after First Lady Grace Mugabe embarked on countrywide anti-Mujuru rallies disguised as “Thank You Rallies” following her nomination as women’s league boss designate.
Grace made scathing and unrestrained attacks on Mujuru, accusing her of being inept, corrupt and plotting to wrest power from Mugabe.
Grace said Mujuru should resign as Vice-President of both the country and the party or risk being “baby dumped” at congress.
The campaign against Mujuru intensified after war veterans and youths were bussed to the party headquarters where they demonstrated against Mugabe’s second-in-command, calling for her ouster.
Mugabe showed his hand when he addressed the crowd stating that “divorce” with Mujuru was imminent but it was a matter of giving her time to wind up her business before the congress.
The purging of Mujuru loyalists is set to continue as insiders say more politburo members will be sacked unless they openly recant their support for Mujuru.
Among those targeted are secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa, secretary for commissariat Webster Shamu and Tendai Savanhu.
Mashonaland East provincial chairman Ray Kaukonde is still in the cross-hairs of the other faction and his departure is being pursued with vigour before the congress.
Grace accused Kaukonde of bankrolling the Mujuru faction which is viewed, within Zanu PF, as a cardinal sin.