Zanu PF and State House officials who were allegedly at the centre of a plot to oust party political commissar Saviour Kasukuwere, have reportedly begun counting their losses after it emerged that President Robert Mugabe had refused to buy their story.
By XOLISANI NCUBE
According to government sources, the group included Mashonaland Central Provincial Affairs minister, Martin Dinha, a senior police officer who is also one of Mugabe’s aide de camps, State Residence director Innocent Tizora and named land developers. The group allegedly managed to mobilise Zanu PF supporters across the country to go out and demand Kasukuwere’s ouster, accusing him of plotting to remove Mugabe.
Highly-placed sources told The Standard during the week that Dinha and his backers whom he reportedly described as powerful at the height of the Kasukuwere demolition saga, were now left in sixes and sevens with their plot exposed.
“Dinha marshalled MPs in Mashonaland Central telling them that the move to remove Kasukuwere had the blessings of the president, but it has since emerged that it was a lie. Some characters at State House who have personal fights with the minister were the ones pushing the agenda,” said a senior government official.
Some MPs in Mashonaland Central have reportedly distanced themselves from the plot to remove Kasukuwere, leaving Dinha and his backers in the open. According to party sources who attended a charged inquest last Wednesday that was being chaired by Speaker of the National Assembly, Jacob Mudenda, the provincial minister was left a disappointed man after he failed to get support from bonafide structures to nail the Local Government minister.
Among the MPs who have distanced themselves from the plot although they attended the anti-Kasukuwere demonstration include Shamva South MP, Joseph Mapika. The MP said when they were called to Bindura by the meeting organisers they were told that it was a solidarity march for Mugabe, only to discover that it was an anti-Kasukuwere protest.
“Despite being a lawyer and with a clear understanding that he who alleges has a duty to prove, Dinha wanted Kasukuwere and those supporting him to prove their innocence,” said an official who attended the fact-finding mission.
“He waffled throughout his presentation saying G40 was removing those opposed to them and replacing them with their cronies. He was constantly booed by Zanu PF women’s league members.”
The source added: “At one point, he said ‘these who are booing are a hired crowd, G40 supporters. But what I am saying is G40 was busy removing Zanu PF supporters and replacing them with their cronies.”
The Lacoste faction which is reportedly loyal to Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa took advantage of the onslaught targeting Kasukuwere to push for his political demise, the source said.
Dinha yesterday skirted responding to direct questions, opting instead to accuse The Standard of being on Kasukuwere’s payroll.
“Don’t be used by Kasukuwere. Between you and me, we know you are on their payroll. Do what you are being paid for and leave me alone.
Everyone in the country is aware of what is happening. They are seeing what is taking place,” Dinha said.
When challenged to prove his allegations, Dinha said; “No comment!”
The minister laughed when challenged further to respond to allegations with evidence, claiming he could not speak as he was in an awkward position in Bulawayo where he said he was attending the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair.
“I have enemies around me. I can’t talk,” he said while giggling over the phone.
But sources said Dinha and his cronies could find themselves in trouble after it emerged that some of Mugabe’s close aides allegedly gave one of the MPs in the province 1 000 litres of fuel coupons to be used during the anti-Kasukuwere demonstration. The coupons were issued under the guise that they had been sourced by Mugabe when in fact the 93-year-old leader had nothing to do with it.
“The MP after receiving fuel from State House told some of his colleagues that Mugabe was behind the protest to oust Kasukuwere.
“Some MPs were called by senior police officers who are close to the presidential aide de camp so that they could participate in the demonstration. But all this happened without the knowledge of Mugabe or that of the First Lady,” said another senior government official.
During the anti-Kasukuwere demonstrations in Bindura, MPs, according to an intelligence report generated by the provincial intelligence officer identified as Mashingaidze, were summoned to the house of the legislator who was given fuel coupons. They were told to support the protests as he purported that Mugabe was behind the move.
The MP allegedly had an axe to grind with Kasukuwere because his brother, only identified as Tongai, is eyeing his seat.
At the MP’s house, according to snippets of the intelligence report gleaned by The Standard, some ex-MDC-T officials who are now members of the National People’s Party led by Joice Mujuru were in attendance with names such as Godfrey Chimombe, one Titus Manyika and one Hofisi popping up.
“These people were close allies of the MP but are not members of the party after being expelled in 2015. They were active in deliberations and mobilisation of people for the demonstration,” said a government source.
After getting wind that the fight against Kasukuwere was being driven by people with personal fights against the minister, Mugabe constituted a probe team to investigate allegations against his political commissar which was initially to be led by party’s secretary for administration, Ignatius Chombo.
But according to insiders, using his close links at State House, Dinha raised allegations against Chombo that he had shown bias towards Kasukuwere through statements made in the press which insinuated that party processes were not being followed, as well as warning people from abusing Mugabe’s name.
“The president then called both Kasukuwere and Chombo on Monday and a decision was made to assign Cde Mudenda to lead the probe team as he had both the political stamina and legal understanding of the party constitution.
“Many in the ED [Mnangagwa] camp celebrated that Chombo had been removed from the probe team and forgot to mobilise as well as strategising their case. They thought Mudenda would go there with a predetermined position. Instead, he had an open mind, he wanted to hear them speak as opposed to the probe team speaking,” said a senior government official.
The Standard heard that Mugabe questioned the authenticity of the petition that was sent from Mashonaland Central as well as the legality of the meetings held thereof to validate the document.
“After the meeting, a decision was reached that elections should be held in the nine provinces minus Matabeleland North so that the provincial executives are made-up of elected people and not those who would have been co-opted.
Kasukuwere refused to comment on the matter while Tizora was unreachable.