ZIMBABWE – Zanu-PF national spokesperson Rugare Gumbo is no longer fit to continue in that capacity after he put out his own statements biased on factional lines last Friday purporting that it was the outcome of a Politburo meeting held the previous day, the Midlands and Matabeleland North provincial co-ordinating committees have resolved.
In Matabeleland North, the province’s co-ordinating committee also attacked Gumbo on Saturday for abusing his position to speak on behalf of his faction at the expense of the official party position. The Midlands Province’s PCC also met over the weekend and took Gumbo, who hails from the province and was in the meeting, to task for saying that allegations of corruption, subversion and abuse of office leveled against Vice President Mujuru were false.
Gumbo was asked to explain what he meant by saying that there was Tsholotsho 2 in the making. Provincial spokesperson Cornelius Mupereri said in a statement that throughout the meeting, Gumbo constantly referred to VP Mujuru as the President.
“The Midlands PCC, therefore, unequivocally established that Rugare Gumbo is no longer fit to be the spokesperson of the party given his deliberate factional bias on issues,” he said. “In fact, it is public knowledge that the Politburo resolved to set up a commission to look into the allegations (against VP Mujuru).
“Before the commission is even set up, Cde Rugare Gumbo is already pre-empting it by publishing his findings. Rugare Gumbo failed to answer for himself the questions raised by the PCC on him contradicting the President and the First Lady. “As a province, we resolved that Rugare Gumbo was and is not speaking on behalf of the party, but instead is speaking on behalf of a faction. He was given an opportunity and failed to explain himself why he was speaking on behalf of a faction rather than the party.”
Mupereri said the PCC felt that as a party cadre, Gumbo had failed the most basic test of following the party, its principles and ideology and instead was bent on constantly following an individual.
“In the meeting, Rugare Gumbo consistently referred to VP Mujuru as the President, proving beyond reasonable doubt that in Cde Rugare Gumbo’s world, VP Mujuru is already the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe,” he said. “By defending VP Mujuru against allegations raised by the First Lady and accentuated by the President himself, Rugare Gumbo implied that the First Family was not telling the truth, deciding instead to take sides with the faction led Joice Mujuru.”
Mupereri said the PCC noted that when the public media was savagely attacking Cde Emmerson Mnangagwa in the last few years for what later became baseless Tsholotsho allegations, Gumbo’s principle of defending party cadres against the media did not apply in the case, raising a double standard approach.
Speaking after the Matabeleland North provincial coordinating meeting in Lupane to outline the duties and responsibilities of the provincial congress coordination committee and appointment of subcommittee members, provincial political head and Politburo member Dr Obert Mpofu, said they did not support factionalism.
“Now, we don’t know whether those charged with speaking on behalf of the party are speaking on behalf of the party or faction. An old man appears on television frothing from the mouth, speaking for a faction and not the party. We do not agree with that,” said Dr Mpofu in apparent reference to Cde Gumbo’s habitual misrepresentation of Politburo deliberations.
“If you are a Zanu-PF spokesman, speak on behalf of Zanu-PF, do not talk about your own things. We do not want that, it destroys the party. If you tell people, tell people things that will take the party forward and not what pleases you. “If you see a person blaming others, they have a problem. Speak for the party and tomorrow speak for your things. They should not make us omatholwane babo.”
Gumbo last Friday attacked The Herald accusing it of being unprofessional, damaging and negative on the coverage of VP Mujuru whom he said had ‘’fantastic leadership qualities’’.
He said allegations of abuse of office, corruption, extorting shareholding from companies and demanding bribes that were levelled against VP Mujuru by First Lady Grace Mugabe were false. Gumbo alleged that the people involved in the alleged Tsholotsho Declaration in 2004 were the same people targeting VP Mujuru in what he termed Tsholotsho 2.
Dr Mpofu said Matabeleland North was the only province lauded by the First Lady during her recent “Meet the People” tour for not being involved in factionalism. “In issues of factionalism we were absolved,” he said. “In Matabeleland North, we always say we are not involved in factionalism. We were mentioned by name that we are the only ones free from factionalism.”
Dr Mpofu said some people were given money to disturb the province and the leadership had the names of individuals that were sent, but the people refused to join factions. He said Matabeleland North was behind the leadership of President Mugabe and the province was the first to endorse the decision to elevate the First Lady to head the Women’s League when some were undecided.
“I’m happy with what was said by (Matabeleland North war veterans chairman Jonathan) Nkanyezi when he said yesterday (Friday), he had nothing to do with things said by Jabulani (chairman of the war veterans) and that what Jabulani said was his personal view and not that of the war veterans. The war veterans are behind the First Lady,” said Dr Mpofu. “Let’s not be swayed by things we don’t know. We might fight among ourselves, but let’s not get into factions. Let us follow the path of the party.” Dr Mpofu said the province always stood by the party and follow laid down guidelines.
“Let’s not follow things without guidelines. People were used to mischief. People would approach me sitting with my children and say support me. We grew up in the party but there are ‘helicopters’ that want to sit on our heads,” he said.
“If you go asking for positions from people you have a problem. It should come to you. Let us not take part in that because we will be caught in crossfire. In Matabeleland North, there is no factionalism. No one (from the province) has ever approached me and said they wanted a position.
“There are some here who have attended many meetings, I know in Bulawayo and we have their names, promising people that you have given them the Vice Presidency. Meetings held at lodges and hotels. If you are called to a hotel, go and eat then wipe your mouth and leave.”
Dr Mpofu urged members to desist from making promises to aspiring candidates on behalf of the province. “Lying that Matabeleland North supports you for this position. Don’t do that. You will soil Matabeleland North,” he said.
The provincial congress coordinating committees headed by the most senior members in the structures will coordinate and guide the work of various provincial subcommittees and get reports from subcommittees.
The Matabeleland North provincial Congress Co-ordination Committee led by Dr Mpofu comprises of Sithembiso Nyoni, Thokozile Mathuthu, Jacob Mudenda, Professor Jonathan Moyo, Cain Mathema, Samuel Mugande, provincial chairman Richard Moyo, provincial women’s league chairperson Medeline Bhebhe, youth chairperson Tamuka Nyoni with Cde Bigboy Nkiwane as secretary.
The province also appointed members of subcommittees headed by central committee and politburo members. Cde Jacob Mudenda was appointed to head the Documentation and legal subcommittee, Sithembiso Nyoni Finance, Cde Cain Mathema Organisation, Cde Sikhanyisiwe Mpofu Security and Accreditation, Prof Moyo Communication, Mathuthu Transport and Social Welfare, Cde Mugande Health and Fati Mpofu Entertainment.
Bulawayo held a similar meeting yesterday where they also resolved to endorse President Mugabe as the sole candidate for the position of President and First Secretary of the party in the December elective congress and sole candidate for the 2018 elections. The province also endorsed the First Lady for the position of secretary for Women’s Affairs.