HARARE – Zanu PF’s politburo will today reconvene at the party’s national headquarters in Harare for a high stakes special meeting that might conclude the long-running case involving its national political commissar, Saviour Kasukuwere, who is facing 11 charges, among them plotting to topple President Robert Mugabe.
The party’s secretary for administration, Ignatius Chombo, has confirmed the meeting “at the usual venue and time”.
Members of Zanu PF’s supreme organ that deliberates on weighty party issues between congresses are expected to be seated by 10:00am, awaiting Mugabe’s arrival to chair the meeting constituted by nearly 50 politburo members.
Jacob Mudenda, a politburo member tasked by Mugabe to head a committee that investigated Kasukuwere in the wake of demonstrations held in nine of the 10 political provinces, in protests over his conduct, tabled his report at last week’s politburo meeting.
The report ignited tempers in Zanu PF, with the politburo clearly divided right through the middle, along factional and tribal lines pitting two factions — Team Lacoste and Generation 40 (G40).
G40 is behind Kasukuwere, while the former is not.
Debate resumes today, with Kasukuwere’s rivals itching to finish off the politician, politically.
The businessman-cum-politician courted the wrath of Team Lacoste when he engineered suspensions and expulsions of allies of Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, for long believed to be Mugabe’s heir apparent.
Mnangagwa’s allies in Team Lacoste have orchestrated demonstrations against the Mount Darwin legislator, resulting in Mugabe dispatching a fact-finding team to his home province of Mashonaland Central where the upheavals started.
G40 were still canvassing for support late into yesterday night to tilt the scale in Kasukuwere’s favour at today’s meeting.
This would be a tall order since Kasukuwere’s case has been complicated by Mudenda’s report, which appears to have established a prima facie case against him.
The report claims to have found evidence that Kasukuwere interfered with operations of provincial structures and that he would sign cash receipts for Mashonaland Central province against provisions of the party constitution which gives provinces autonomy to run their affairs.
The investigating team concludes its findings by washing its hands on the more grievous case of planning to remove Mugabe from office using unconstitutional means. On the charge, it said the case should be investigated by the State security agents who fall under the Office of the President and Cabinet.
Political analyst Ibbo Mandaza said what seems to be coming out of the report was not substantive enough to warrant Kasukuwere being given his marching orders.
He said: “If the basis for the expulsion of Kasukuwere is, like we are being made to believe, that he set up parallel structures aimed at toppling the president, then surely the case is over. I don’t see anything dramatic happening because the report does not seem to suggest that indeed he wanted to push Mugabe out of power.”
Pedzisai Ruhanya, the director of the Zimbabwe Democracy Institute, said Mugabe, who is the only person in Zanu PF with the power to appoint or “disappoint”, is satisfied with the humiliation that his lieutenant has endured so far hence he will not take drastic action.
“Whatever decision Mugabe is going to make, it will be in his interests and that of the party thus it is difficult to imagine him expelling Kasukuwere because he has been a faithful servant of the party for a long time,” Ruhanya said.
“I think Mugabe must be satisfied that he has clipped Kasukuwere’s wings and that what has been happening to him lately has sent enough a message that he must not grow too big for his shoes so he could still survive,” he added.
Also in the eye of the storm is Mashonaland Central acting chairperson and Kasukuwere’s half brother, Dick Mafios, also accused of setting up parallel structures and planning to oust Mugabe.
Kasukuwere and his brother have rubbished the accusations saying those who want him out actually want Mugabe out and are just using his name.
But before the jury is out, several party cadres are being tipped to take over from him.
The list includes Webster Shamu, Jabulani Sibanda and Zanu PF youth league secretary Kudzanai Chipanga.
The Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association, ZNLWVA, led by Christopher Mutsvangwa, has not made it a secret that the position of national political commissar should be occupied by a person with liberation war credentials.
ZNLWVA spokesperson Douglas Mahiya told the Daily News last week that they should deliberate on who replaces Kasukuwere.
“When Kasukuwere goes, we must be allowed as war veterans to sit down and deliberate on the right candidate with revolutionary ethos and can lead the party to victory in elections as well as making sure that the party represents the people’s aspirations,” Mahiya said.