HARARE – Zanu-PF national spokesperson Rugare Gumbo was yesterday suspended for five years by the Politburo that met at the party’s national headquarters in Harare, while war veterans leader Jabulani Sibanda was expelled from the party.
Chipinge South legislator and Central Committee member Enoch Porusingazi was also suspended for five years. The decision against the trio was announced by Zanu-PF national chairman and acting spokesperson Simon Khaya Moyo soon after the meeting that lasted over nine hours.
Earlier, Gumbo had left the boardroom where the Politburo meeting was being held in a huff and could not take any questions from reporters. “The National Disciplinary Committee which I chair and comprises Emmerson Mnangagwa, Sydney Sekeramayi, Sikhanyiso Ndlovu and Oppah Muchinguri had their report which report was read by our Secretary for Legal Affairs Mnangagwa,” said Khaya Moyo.
“After extensive discussions amongst members of the Politburo some far reaching decisions were taken by the Politburo as follows; Rugare Gumbo has been suspended for five years with immediate effect, Enoch Porusingazi who is a member of the Central Committee has been suspended for five years from the party and Jabulani Sibanda has been expelled from the party.”
Khaya Moyo said the Politburo had also upheld the votes of no confidence passed on provincial chairmen Kalisto Gwanetsa (Masvingo), Amos Midzi (Harare), Jaison Machaya (Midlands) and Andrew Langa (Matabeleland South). Manicaland provincial chairman John Shumba Mvundura was issued with a written reprimand.
The Politburo also upheld the no confidence vote passed on Masvingo Women’s League chairperson Shylet Uyoyo and the province’s Youth League chairperson Oliver Huruva. Another vote of no confidence on Tongai Mangomana, another Youth League official in Masvingo, was also upheld.
Khaya Moyo said the national disciplinary committee was also seized with Harare Youth League provincial chairperson Godwin Gomwe’s case. Khaya Moyo could not provide the reasons for the decisions taken against the members by the Politburo and the fate of the Mashonaland East provincial executive chaired by Ray Kaukonde that was being pressured by demonstrators to leave office.
“I am not talking of any allegations at all, I am talking of the position taken by the Politburo. I am talking of what was deliberated by the Politburo today what I have said was not deliberated obviously,” he said. “I have no questions to answer. I have given you the position of the Politburo. I don’t have my own position, this is the position of the Politburo. If I have my own press conference I will entertain you and speak to you as the spokesperson of the party at some other time.”
There had been growing calls for Gumbo to be relieved of his duties after it had become clear that he was misrepresenting the party position to serve the interests of a faction angling to depose President Mugabe and replace him with his deputy Joice Mujuru.
Zanu-PF Midlands and Matabeleland North provincial co-ordinating committees recently rapped Gumbo’s behaviour saying he was no longer fit to continue as party spokesperson after he put his own contributions in Politburo deliberations as the party position.
Matabeleland North Province’s co-ordinating committee attacked Gumbo 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 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 levelled against Vice President Mujuru were false.
Gumbo was asked to explain what he meant when he said there was Tsholotsho 2 in the making. Gumbo then appeared on ZBCTv’s Media Watch programme on Monday saying the succession issue was the most critical matter for the party’s forthcoming elective 6th National People’s Congress, all but confirming plans that a faction within the party had been working to oust President Mugabe.
War veterans this week called for the removal of Gumbo from his post as spokesperson of the party in the wake of his confession on ZBCTv that he was part of a faction plotting to oust President Mugabe. The man police accuse of funding the Baba Jukwa Facebook page, Chawarika Matongorere last week called for the investigation of Gumbo over his involvement in the saga.
Matongorere was speaking from his South Africa base. After a Politburo meeting early this month, Gumbo told the media that the President would set up a commission of inquiry to probe VP Mujuru and Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa for fanning factionalism.
However, investigations by The Herald that involved engaging 13 Politburo members, revealed that Gumbo had once again passed his own contribution to deliberations as the final Politburo position. Langa, Gwanetsa, Midzi and Machaya have been accused of various offences in the provinces that include fanning factionalism, subverting the party’s constitution and opposing the ascendancy of the First Lady Grace Mugabe to be Secretary of Women’s Affairs despite her nomination by the League and endorsement by its elective Conference, a constitutional body of the party.
It was not clear what Mvundura was reprimanded for, but he stands accused of fanning factionalism and failing to discipline youths that disrupted Amai Mugabe’s rally at Sakubva Stadium during the First Lady’s countrywide “Meet the People” tour to thank Zimbabweans for her nomination to head the Women’s League.
Meanwhile, Khaya Moyo said the Politburo had also received preliminary reports from the Provincial Coordinating Committees on their preparations for the congress and was pleased with progress made so far. The PCC’s are expected to present comprehensive reports when the Politburo meets next week.