HARARE – President Robert Mugabe’s warring ruling Zanu PF will hold two crucial meetings this week, which could determine the fate of some top party officials — as the former liberation movement’s mindless bloodletting continues unabated.
This comes as State media reports suggested at the weekend that among the party heavyweights who are under the cosh are the party’s national political commissar, Saviour Kasukuwere (pictured) — who bizarrely stands accused of plotting to topple Mugabe from power, and also disrespecting the nonagenarian’s powerful wife, Grace.
Zanu PF insiders who spoke to the Daily News yesterday said the party’s ugly tribal, factional and successions wars had intensified since Grace jettisoned women’s league top guns Sarah Mahoka and Eunice Sandi Moyo last week — following demonstrations against the duo.
The well-placed sources added that it was also expected that there would be more purges of senior party officials, with a number of mega demos also set to be held soon against targeted bigwigs — including outspoken Manicaland Provincial Affairs minister Mandiitawepi Chimene.
This has given this week’s politburo and central committee gatherings on Wednesday and Thursday respectively even more importance, as all the seemingly intractable problems devouring the party will be ventilated rigorously.
Zanu PF secretary for administration Ignatius Chombo readily admitted in a statement at the weekend that the two indabas would discuss all “critical party issues”.
The consistently reliable sources within the burning former liberation movement who spoke to the Daily News yesterday said the surprise move by Grace to ditch two of her former top allies, Sandi Moyo and Mahoka — whose political futures now lie in the hands of this week’s politburo meeting — was likely to mark the beginning of fresh purges of senior party officials.
“It is ominous that Kasukuwere finds himself facing a vote of no confidence in his home province. In the women’s league top 50 meeting last week, his name featured heavily in discussions and that is not good news for him,” one of the sources said.
Yesterday, State media reported that Kasukuwere and his brother, Dickson Mafios — who is also the acting provincial chairperson for Mashonaland Central — were facing votes of no confidence.
“The provincial leadership has already rejected Kasukuwere and Mafios. What remains now is due process,” central committee member and Mashonaland Central Provincial Affairs minister, Martin Dinha was quoted saying by the Sunday Mail.
Efforts by the Daily News to get Kasukuwere’s comment yesterday were unsuccessful as his mobile phone was not reachable.
However, Mafios professed ignorance about today’s planned demonstration in Bindura, where the provincial leadership is expected to announce the mooted votes of no confidence against the two brothers.
“I am not aware of any such event because I am at my farm as I am speaking to you,” he said.
But the insiders who the Daily News spoke to insisted that more purges of senior party officials were imminent, with the likes of Chimene and minister of State in Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko’s office, Tabetha Kanengoni-Malinga — who did not attend last week’s women’s league meetings — among those said to be under severe pressure.
“After dealing with Kasukuwere the plan is to shift attention to Mandi and Smelly Dube (a Gweru businesswoman) and annihilate the G40 once and for all,” a provincial official from Mashonaland East, who is linked to Team Lacoste, told the Daily News.
However, Chimene recently told the newspaper that she was not losing sleep over the allegations that she is facing — claiming further that the mooted march against her was being orchestrated by her rivals and not Grace, who leads the women’s league.
“Assassinating me will be a better deal than carrying out demonstrations against me. Demonstrations are not a problem to me. The best thing (for her Zanu PF enemies to do to her) is to eliminate me,” Chimene said.
“I can’t stop them. Ngavaite zvavanoda (let them do what they want). Ndeyekwavo iyo ( it’s their problem). Vakatondiita izvozvo vanenge vachitondipa mbiri (if they demonstrate against me they will be elevating me).
“They definitely won’t be damaging me. Kutondiwedzera masimba (they would be making me stronger). In fact, I will be part of those that will be dancing during the demonstrations,” the forthright Chimene thundered then .
A defiant Dube also told the Daily News yesterday that her “enemies” would also not succeed in coming in-between her and Grace.
“I am not worried about that because I do not hold any position in the women’s league. I am just an ordinary businesswoman who happens to support Zanu PF, President Mugabe and the first lady. No amount of smear-campaigns against me will dampen my spirit,” Dube, who is currently on a business trip to Japan, said.
Another party source also said the politburo meeting would consider the recommendations of the women’s league meeting to have Sandi Moyo and Mahoka fired.
Sandi Moyo and the vocal Mahoka were last Monday expelled from the key organ following nationwide demonstrations against the two by irate party members.
Analysts have warned that the expulsions of Sandi Moyo and Mahoka were likely to further fuel the party’s deadly succession brawls, which had escalated in the last few weeks, especially after Mugabe’s 93rd birthday interview with the ZBC, in which he appeared to slam the door shut on ambitious party bigwigs angling to succeed him.
Observers have also previously said Mugabe’s failure to resolve Zanu PF’s succession riddle is fuelling the party’s deadly infighting, which is devouring the former liberation movement.
The 93-year-old has studiously refused to name a successor, insisting that the party’s congress has that mandate: to choose a person of their own choice.