ZIMBABWE – Repeated desperate efforts by President Robert Mugabe to put a stop to the post-congress Zanu PF’s brutal factional and succession wars, including his issuance of suspect gag orders, have not stopped the party’s bigwigs from continuing to savage each other violently.
And amid all this, the ruling party’s spokesperson, Simon Khaya Moyo, said yesterday that the confusing votes of no confidence that are being passed by members around the country willy-nilly, will be upheld as long as they are “constitutional”.
However, these brutal removals of party officials from their positions go against Mugabe’s instructions that he issued early this year, that these purges be halted.
Asked by the Daily News whether party officials were not defying the party’s purported “one centre of power” by continuing to mount the controversial votes of no confidence, Khaya Moyo deflected the issue, choosing to answer the question through a rhetorical question of his own.
“What defiance is there to talk about? The president was talking about procedure to say whatever is done should be done in line with the party’s constitution.
“So, are you saying the votes of no confidence are not procedural? No, there is no defiance to talk about because everything is being done above board,” he said.
Mugabe’s directive, which was announced by the party’s national political commissar Saviour Kasukuwere in January, threatened that action would be taken against those who defied the order.
“Once we have indicated our position, we expect structures of the party to respect it as announced. Those who try to resist will do so at their own cost because that amounts to indiscipline and they will be dealt with accordingly,” Kasukuwere said.
But this has not happened. In Mashonaland East, for example, the ruling party now resembles a kindergarten playground, with officials from rival factions suspending and counter-suspending each other overnight, as the stubborn scourge of factionalism in the party refuses to go away.
The group of ambitious party Young Turks known as the Generation 40 (G40) faction, and which is said to be aligned to Mugabe’s controversial wife Grace, was on the warpath at the weekend, suspending provincial chairperson Joel Biggie Matiza.
However, a rival group linked to embattled Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa quickly mobilised to counter the move, resulting in the faction engineering the suspension of secretary for administration Lawrence Katsiru and four others.
“I am confused with what is happening as I am just hearing people saying that I was suspended yet I don’t even know about it,” Katsiru said yesterday.
In the meantime, well-placed sources have told the Daily News that Grace, who recently returned from a trip to China, was set to nullify the vote of no confidence passed against her newly-found ally Paradzai Chakona, when she visits Masvingo this weekend.
Some of Grace’s foes admit that the divisive first lady’s visit to Masvingo, ostensibly at the invitation of the Zimbabwe National
Liberation War Collaborators Association as their guest of honour, was likely to be “a sucker punch” on Mnangagwa’s stranglehold on the province.
“Amai will obviously get briefings from the provincial leadership on the state of the party in the province, ahead of the December annual conference in Victoria Falls.
“You will be surprised that some officials who fell by the wayside in the run-up to the congress will bounce back as the first lady seeks to wrestle control of the province from the octopus-like grip of Mnangagwa’s faction,” a provincial member linked to Mnangagwa said.