THREE ministers linked to Zanu PF’s G40 faction, Makhosini Hlongwane, Tapiwa Matangaidze and Annastacia Ndhlovu, are set to be booted out of the Midlands provincial structures today for allegedly disrespecting the province’s political leadership, Zimbabwe Independent has learnt.
Hlongwane, who is Sports minister, Ndhlovu (Tourism deputy minister) and Matangaidze (Public Service deputy minister), wrote a scathing letter to Zanu PF national commissar Saviour Kasukuwere and Vice-President Phelekezela Mphoko seeking protection from other party members, alleging they were being victimised for refusing to submit “to an alternative narrative.”
The G40, aligned to First Lady Grace Mugabe, is trying to derail Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s presidential bid by, among other things, seeking to have him replaced by a female vice-president.
If they are kicked out, it would be the first time Grace’s ally would have been booted out of the party structures since her entry into politics.
Mnangagwa hails from Midlands, believed to be his stronghold.
Sources in Midlands said the party’s provincial executive and the provincial coordinating committee was meeting today to decide the fate of the three ministers.
“We are meeting today and the only possible decision that is likely to come out will be suspensions from holding any political office in the province. It is up to President Robert Mugabe to keep them as ministers,” the source said.
“Zanu PF members from the Midlands province are angry that the three ministers failed to honour and respect the provincial leadership by writing a letter to national leaders.
“If they had problems with some members as the letter alleges, they could have approached senior officials in the province before taking the issue to a higher office.
“They have created unnecessary tensions between the president and vice-president Emmerson Mnangagwa by asserting that they are being forced to be aligned to the alternative narrative.”
In a letter seen by the Independent, the ministers wrote: “It must be pointed out that the idea of clubbing all ministers in the Midlands province into submission, is designed to remove their loyalty from President Robert Mugabe to submit them to an alternative narrative.”
However, Midlands sources said, “the three must explain which ‘alternative narrative’ they are being forced to submit to”.
Zanu PF is divided along two major rival factions pitting Grace’s G40 and Mnangagwa, who are locked in a bitter succession wrangle to replace Mugabe, who has been in power since 1980.
The trio were appointed by Mugabe in September last year.
They have been part of the Mnangagwa faction for many years, but have shifted their loyalty to the First Lady.
The three hold influential positions in the province, where Hlongwane is the secretary for the commissariat.
Matangaidze is secretary for administration, while Ndhlovu is secretary for production and labour in the National Youth League.
In their letter, the trio complained of harassment since their appointment into government.
“We the undersigned, are writing to you in your capacity as national secretary for the commissariat, charged with the responsibility of maintaining order and discipline within the party,” reads the letter.
“Since the appointments, we have been under incessant attacks from Owen Mudha Ncube (secretary for security in the Midlands province), Justice Mayor Wadyajena (secretary for administration in the Midlands youth league), Edmore Samambwa (The youth provincial chairman) and other members of the Youth League who allege our appointments were G40-motivated.”