President Robert Mugabe has refused to be swayed by the wave of protests against Zanu PF commissar Saviour Kasukuwere and launched his own investigations into allegations that there is a new plot to oust him, this paper reveals today.
BY XOLISANI NCUBE
The majority of Zanu PF provinces have passed resolutions calling for the Local Government minister’s ouster, but communication seen by The Standard indicates the matter may not be as straight-forward.
A number of top Zanu PF officials have in the past few days been declaring Kasukuwere’s removal a done deal but latest developments have caught many by surprise.
It emerged yesterday that Mugabe will today dispatch a high- powered delegation led by Zanu PF secretary for administration Ignatius Chombo to Mashonaland Central to ask Kasukuwere’s accusers to back their claims with facts.
According to Zanu PF insiders, the 93-year-old ruler caught the anti-Kasukuwere camp flat-footed amid a futile attempt to stop today’s provincial coordinating committee (PCC) meeting.
Mashonaland Central Provincial Affairs minister Martin Dinha, who has become the face of the lobby against Kasukuwere, first claimed he would not make it to the meeting because of a family emergency before sending a WhatsApp message urging all members to attend without fail.
He claimed he had consulted Mugabe who confirmed that he was the one that ordered the PCC to meet. Sources said the Zanu PF leader considered most of the allegations against Kasukuwere to be unclear.
“Kasukuwere’s supporters have rallied saying this thing [votes of no confidence] started in Mashonaland Central and should be corrected in Mashonaland Central,” a source close to the developments said last night.
“Dinha and his people are clearly running scared, they are clearly trying to stop the PCC from meeting.”
The source said Dinha was yesterday making frantic efforts to build bridges with Kusukuwere.
Chombo’s delegation will be comprised of Defence minister Sydney Sekeramayi, State Security minister Kembo Mohadi, Senate president Edna Madzongwe and women’s league commissar Mabel Chinomona.
The minister wrote to Wonder Mashange, the Zanu PF Mashonaland Central secretary for administration, to call for today’s meeting. Ironically, Mashange is one of the people provincial leaders want fired for allegedly siding with Kasukuwere, also known as Tyson.
“In response to petitions and representations received from your province, the party leadership requests you to call for the convening of the Mashonaland Central provincial coordinating committee meeting on Sunday 23rd April 2017 [today] at 10 00 hours,” reads part of the letter.
“A team of senior party members has been assigned to come and address the meeting. May you ensure that all members of the PCC are invited accordingly and advise us on the venue of the meeting.”
The letter was also copied to Kasukuwere, George Rutanhire, a politburo member, the provincial chairperson, Dickson Mafios and his deputy Kazembe Kazembe as well as Dinha.
Dinha in a WhatsApp message, indicated to Zanu PF PCC members that security had been beefed up to ensure that there was no violence.
“Cdes and friends, I have the pleasure to advise you that clearance has been given from H.E the president for tomorrow’s PCC after I briefed and consulted H.E accordingly,” he wrote. “The meeting is indeed on and the correspondence from Cde Dr I.C.M Chombo is both real and official.
He added: “As minister of State, I had earlier yesterday received notification and confirmation of the meeting from the Zanu PF secretary for administration.
“The principal, first secretary and president of Zanu PF HE Cde R.G Mugabe wants the meeting to be chaired by the visiting high level delegation and to be conducted in a proper and orderly manner.”
The meeting will start at 10am at the Bindura Country Club.
Insiders revealed that Mugabe in the past week held a series of meetings with Chombo and Kasukuwere to discuss the petitions. He was reportedly not convinced that Kasukuwere wants to topple him.
“The allegations are too general and the manner in which they are being presented suggests a case of sour grapes and personal interest by some people who just want to get rid of the minister,” a senior government official said.
The sources said the president had been briefed about private meetings that were allegedly taking place at military barracks where plots to remove Kasukuwere were made.
One prominent land developer allegedly held a meeting on April 4 in Highlands where financing for the commissar’s ouster was organised.
“The president has been briefed of the involvement of expelled Zanu PF members in the fight against Kasukuwere and those said to be his backers and abuse of his name and that of his wife — by people who are pursuing their own interests,” said another source.
“Although Cde Kasukuwere might have had unbridled ambition for a higher political office, allegations that he was plotting to remove the president have no evidence so far.
“The issue of structures is the one that the old man is worried about and he believes the commissar failed to handle it well.”
Meanwhile, Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa yesterday said Zanu PF was cleansing itself of elements bent on destabilising the party ahead of next year’s general elections.
Mnangagwa’s faction is accused of driving the current wave of purges in Zanu PF where Kasukuwere has become the most high-profile target.
Speaking at the burial of Chiwundura MP Kizito Chivamba at the Midlands provincial heroes acre, Mnangagwa made a passionate plea to ruling party members to remain peaceful and united in order to win the 2018 polls.
“Cde Chivamba has gone at a time when the party is internally fumigating itself from elements bent on weakening and destabilising it ahead of the 2018 elections,” he said.
“It is in this spirit that I call upon all those he has left behind to remain united as we gear ourselves towards victory in the 2018 elections.”
Chivamba, who was Zanu PF provincial deputy chairperson, died last Wednesday at Gweru General Hospital and was declared a provincial hero.
Zanu PF has in the past years been rocked by internal squabbles, with factions fighting each other in the race to succeed Mugabe.
There are two camps, one aligned to Mnangagwa dubbed Lacoste and G40, which has Kasukuwere and Higher Education minister Jonathan Moyo.
Chronicling Chivamba’s history in the party, Mnangagwa said at one time he was suspended but managed to come out clean after all the charges levelled against him were dismissed.
At the time of his death, Chivamba had just been cleared and readmitted into the party structures following his suspension last year on allegations of insubordination and blocking party members from attending Mugabe’s rally in Harare.
“When the leadership of this province requested that he be bestowed the status of a hero, nobody was against that decision,” Mnangagwa said.
“The allegations levelled against him had gone and only the truth about him had remained and in Zanu PF he died untainted.”
He said Chivamba was the face of Zanu PF in the province and committed himself in recruiting student leaders at universities and colleges in the province to form Zanu PF branches, among other programmes he spearheaded.
Mnangagwa said Chivamba never fought for positions in the ruling party and was satisfied by levels he attained in Zanu PF.
Chivamba was once convicted alongside late Central Intelligence Organisation operative Elias Kanengoni for shooting the late Patrick Kombayi.
Kombayi wanted to challenge late Vice President Simon Muzenda in Zanu PF’s 1990 primary elections.