President Robert Mugabe will visit Masvingo next weekend in an effort to quell worsening factionalism caused by the jostling for his throne between a camp linked to Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa and another led by First Lady Grace Mugabe, Zanu PF insiders have revealed.
By Everson Mushava
The 92-year-old Mugabe is expected to meet all Masvingo legislators in Chiredzi next Saturday in a desperate attempt to reconcile the warring Zanu PF factions.
The meeting would be a follow up to another one held at State House in Harare last Thursday where Mugabe met 15 legislators from the province after 21 of them signed a petition asking him to intervene.
The MPs blamed the chaos on senior leaders allegedly backing Mnangagwa and the Zanu PF leader is expected to tackle the faction in public for the first time.
Mugabe’s spokesperson George Charamba was not picking calls when attempts were made to seek his comment on the matter yesterday.
However, sources said Mugabe promised to visit the province after some MPs narrated harrowing tales of the extent of factionalism in Masvingo.
The names of Psychomotor minister Josiah Hungwe and Masvingo Provincial Affairs minister Shuvai Mahofa — who are linked to Mnangagwa’s faction — featured prominently at the meeting as they were accused of being the major trouble makers.
“The president said he will meet all the MPs from the province on June 25 in Chiredzi,” a well-placed source said.
“He said he wanted the MPs to freely express themselves so that a long-lasting solution can be found to unite the province.”
The 15 MPs who attended the Thursday meeting — all allegedly sympathetic to G40 — reportedly pressured Mugabe to rein in Mahofa and Hungwe, accusing the two of dividing the province to prop up Mnangagwa.
The two were also accused of manipulating food aid to their selfish political ends.
Two weeks ago, the Zanu PF politburo was forced to nullify a restructuring exercise that allegedly targeted G40 members, giving them less influential positions as the Mnangagwa faction tried to consolidate power in the province.
This followed a meeting held by G40 members at the late vice-president Simon Muzenda’s Gutu home that was snubbed by Mnangagwa’s backers early last month.
Meanwhile, suspended Zanu PF Masvingo provincial chair Ezra Chadzamira could be on his way out after at least five witnesses were called to give evidence against him on allegations of belittling the First Lady.
At least five witnesses were allegedly called to bring evidence in preparation for the hearing set for July 8.
Chadzamira confirmed that he was set to appear before the National Disciplinary Committee (NDC) chaired by Zanu PF secretary for legal affairs, Patrick Chinamasa, who was away on Wednesday.
“I am set to appear before the NDC in July. I could not do so yesterday so I have been told that our cases as provincial chairpersons will be heard in July,” he said.
The NDC, according to insiders, met on Wednesday and received evidence against Chadzamira from party supporters in Masvingo, which was in the form of text messages and other communications where he was allegedly instructing party members not to mobilise support for a women’s league function that was being held in Harare.
“At least five people came forward with key information to help the NDC in determining Chadzamira’s case. The matter was rolled over to July 8 to allow him to present his case and by then, the chair, Chinamasa will be available,” said an insider.
Chidzamira was suspended on allegations of blocking supporters from going to Harare for a rally that was staged in solidarity with Mugabe.
Together with Kizito Chivamba from Midlands and Joel Biggie Matiza, Chadzamira was suspended for disrespecting programmes being run by the women’s league.
But Chivamba and Chadzamira remained suspended.
Chadzamira was also accused of abusing goods donated for the 21st February movement celebrations which were held in Masvingo early this year.
He also faces allegations of promoting Mnangagwa’s camp in the province to position him as the replacement to Mugabe.
Wednesday’s meeting was allegedly chaired by party political commissar Saviour Kasukuwere as Chinamasa was said to be out if the country.