ZIMBABWE – Zanu-PF Mashonaland East provincial chairman Ray Kauonde, the main funder of Vice President Joice Mujuru’s faction angling to depose President Mugabe, was yesterday booted out through a vote of no confidence by party supporters from the province’s districts.
“He is also going around claiming that the President Mugabe owes him money, saying he can’t do anything to him because of that, but we are saying how much are you owed so that we can pay you back.” said ZANU-PF District Women’s League Chairperson Ellis Rangwana.
Addressing the demonstrators, Rangwana chronicled Kaukonde and his executive’s indiscretions and called for a vote of no confidence in their leadership. “Kaukonde has no respect for the President and the First Family as was seen at Rudhaka Stadium during the First Lady, Mugabe’s “meet the people” rally,” she said. “He organised youths who embarrassed the First Lady by continuously beating their drums while she addressed the people. What kind of disrespect is that?
“He is also going around claiming that the President owes him money, saying he can’t do anything to him because of that, but we are saying how much are you owed so that we can pay you back.”
His Matabeleland South counterpart Andrew Langa suffered the same fate yesterday for allegedly aligning himself with the same faction seeking to oust President Mugabe and undermining the First Grace Mugabe. The two bring to six the number of Zanu-PF provincial chairpersons who have been kicked out after Temba Mliswa (Mashonaland West), Kalisto Gwanetsa (Masvingo), Amos Midzi (Harare) and Jason Machaya (Midlands).
At her “Meet the People” rally in Marondera last month, the First Lady said Cde Kaukonde was the main funder of Vice President Mujuru’s faction which sought to unseat the President. Kaukonde was kicked out yesterday together with his entire provincial executive.
The vote of no confidence came after a peaceful demonstration organised by the province’s members of the Women’s League and was attended by hundreds of Zanu-PF supporters drawn from the Youth League, war veterans, war collaborators, former political prisoners and ex-detainees.
Only one district out of the nine administrative districts in the province was not represented. Patrick Makombe from Marondera District was appointed interim chairperson and would be deputised by Cde Tangai Hove from Goromonzi.
In the Women’s League, Cde Lyn Gororo (Murehwa) would be the interim chairperson and would be deputised by Patricia Ruzawe (Goromonzi), while Norman Guramatunhu (Murehwa) would be the acting Youth League chairperson, with Cde Samson Chipfiko (Mudzi) appointed his deputy.
The demonstration began at the Mashonaland East provincial offices of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association before the Zanu-PF supporters marched peacefully through Marondera Central Business District to the party offices. They sang revolutionary songs as they denigrated Kaukonde’s divisive leadership style.
Some of the placards they carried were inscribed: “Fraudster from Budjaland,” “Pasi newe Kaukonde, Pasii!!!”, “All whites at your farms out!” and “Vakadzi Vapera naRay muMash East”. The demonstrators broke the key on the gates to the party offices to gain entrance. Officer Commanding Mashonaland East Senior Assistant Commissioner Charles Makono later arrived and could be seen discussing with the leaders of the demonstrators.
Rangwana accused the provincial executive of being complicit in Kaukonde’s misdemeanours as seen by the vote of confidence they passed in him recently.
“When the First Lady complained about Kaukonde’s conduct, we thought the executive would act on it promptly, but they went on to express confidence in him, that is why we are saying the whole executive should go,” said Rangwana.
She accused Kaukonde of staffing provincial structures with his cronies, while preventing bona fide party members from holding office and also protecting white commercial farmers, yet there were many indigenous Zimbabweans without land.
War veteran and coordinator of the demonstration Cde Crispen Mashayamombe echoed similar sentiments against Kaukonde.
In an interview, Makombe said their immediate task was to prepare for the forthcoming National People’s Congress next month. In Matabeleland South, Langa was replaced by his deputy Rapelang Choene.
Violence broke out before the provincial congress coordinating committee meeting in Gwanda after Cde Langa’s relatives and supporters assaulted a demonstrator who was carrying a placard denouncing Langa as “Dr 10 percent’s puppet.” Other demonstrators carrying placards denouncing deposed war veterans leader Cde Jabulani Sibanda were spared, but all those denouncing Cde Langa had their placards shredded into pieces.
Chairperson of the provincial congress coordinating committee Abigail Damasane blocked the matter from being discussed in the meeting, saying her task was to announce the committees and sub committees for the congress.
She suggested that the issue should be raised with the provincial secretary for information Malachi Nkomo and the provincial secretary for administration William Dewa who would then relay the message to Langa. Jabulani Phetsu Sibanda then suggested that Damasane concludes the meeting and they hold another one to deal with issues against Langa.
War veterans then called for a separate meeting where a vote of no confidence in Cde Langa was passed by 31 members of the provincial executive council out of 50.
A member of the provincial executive Siqhozo Ndlovu, moved the motion to pass a vote of no confidence in Langa.
He was accused of announcing on two separate occasions a line up of the “purported Presidium and also of giving false information that he was doing it on behalf of the Provincial Coordinating Committee which never discussed the issue.”
Cde Langa was also accused of fanning factionalism and aligning himself with a faction working against the President Mugabe.
“The chairman indulged in unprocedural activities before and during the Provincial and National Elective conferences for the Youths and Women’s league,” read the motion. “This he did through systematic intimidation and vote buying for a faction.
“The chairman also attempted to sabotage the First Lady’s “Meet the People” programme in Gwanda by deliberately attempting to change the venue from Gwanda to Filabusi, knowing too well that these meetings were held at provincial centres.” Langa was also accused of attempting to cause confusion among party supporters by instituting counter attraction meetings in Kezi, Maphisa, on the day the First Lady was holding her rally at Pelandaba Stadium.
He was said to be behind the last minute cancellation of 10 buses that were meant to augment locally arranged transport to bring supporters to the First Lady’s rally. Langa was also accused of mobilising and transporting some youths from Insiza with full instructions to disrupt the First Lady’s rally.
“That on 17th October 2014, you were overheard at your lodge in Insiza, you insulted the First Lady saying she was mad and also you said she was doing corruption (deals) with Cde Obert Mpofu. Your old Gilbert can witness this,” added the motion.
In the motion, it was alleged that Cde Langa walked out of the First Lady’s Bulawayo rally in protest in a sign of disrespect.
The motion also called for the removal of Phetshu Sibanda as provincial secretary for lands and resettlement for announcing members of the presidium ahead of the Zanu-PF congress without discussing with the PCC. Matabeleland South provincial war veterans’ chairman, Never Ncube, in a meeting of war veterans held at the party offices, also made similar allegations against Langa.
Langa was further accused of defending whites during the land reform and blocking provincial minister Abednico Ncube from conducting his duties. Ncube said the province also endorsed the move to expel war veterans leader Jabulani Sibanda for comments he made against the First Family.
At the beginning of the main meeting after the violent clashes, Langa tried to save himself by saying the province would not be influenced by what was happening in other areas, with apparent reference the provinces that removed their chairpersons.
“If there is a problem in the province let it be identified so that we are guided. Matabeleland South will never be influenced by what is happening in other areas,” he said. After the meeting, Langa could only say: “I’ve nothing to say to you. The meeting went well, those who had their mission failed in their plans.” Langa said he had made his intentions of being elevated to the Central Committee clear and begged members to support his bid.