Factionalism: Ministers seek recourse at national level

THE three ministers from Midlands province, who have taken Zanu PF’s succession war to Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s door step have appealed to the party’s national disciplinary committee to intervene in the case where they are accusing the regional godfather’s backers of victimising them for refusing to submit “to an alternative narrative.”

Elias Mambo

The ministers insist they are being victimised for not supporting Mnangagwa’s presidential ambitions. Sports minister Makhosini Hlongwane, Tapiwa Matangaidze (public service deputy minister) and Annastacia Ndhlovu (tourism deputy minister), in December last year wrote a scathing letter to Zanu PF national commissar Saviour Kasukuwere, which was copied to Vice-President Phelekezela Mphoko, who chairs the national disciplinary committee, seeking protection from Mnangagwa’s allies.

The ministers are linked to the G40 faction, which has vowed to derail Mnangagwa’s presidential ambitions. The group has the support of First Lady Grace Mugabe.

They said Justice Mayor Wadyajena (youth secretary for administration in the Midlands province), Owen Mudha Ncube (secretary for security in the province) and Edmore Samambwa (youth provincial chairperson) were leading people harassing them.

A Midlands provincial disciplinary committee chaired by Mackenzie Ncube, however ruled in favour of the accused, hence the appeal.
In their letter of appeal dated January 15, the ministers questioned the disciplinary procedure adopted by the committee. They argued that the outcome of the hearings was predetermined as the committee comprised of people sympathetic to the accused, while due process was also not followed.

The ministers highlighted that they made a formal complaint to the provincial executive committee after Matangaidze was attacked by youths “with the help of Ncube” in November, resulting in the province agreeing to set up a disciplinary committee chaired by John Holder (secretary for finance). They said, although Holder’s disciplinary committee was not disbanded by the provincial executive council, “true to the predictable culture of impunity and disregard of party processes and bullying of the executive”, another committee was set up on January 8.

“Secondly, in the process of setting up another disciplinary committee at the expense of the one set up on the 6th of December 2015, a central committee member from Kwekwe Mackenzie Ncube was appointed to head the disciplinary committee.

“It is predictable that the committee will not hand down a fair hearing given the well documented relationship between Mackenzie Ncube and all of the accused, except one, are from Kwekwe,” wrote the ministers.

“Therefore it is not possible for the Mackenzie Ncube-led committee to deliberate on the disciplinary proceedings without bias.

“Thirdly Mackenzie Ncube, once appointed vice-chairperson of the provincial executive went on to preside over the preliminary stages of the disciplinary hearing by taking his chair upfront and reading the document that is supposed to the subject of the disciplinary proceedings to the (Provincial Co-ordinating Committe (PCC). This not withstanding that Ncube had not formally withdrawn his membership from the central committee, thereby creating a situation where a central committee member was presiding over provincial disciplinary processes, but also acting as vice-chair of the province,” reads the letter.

The ministers argued that Ncube should have first withdrawn from the central committee before presiding over matters as the vice-chairperson of the province. The ministers also questioned why the letter they wrote was read in the PCC in front of the accused persons, when it was subject to the disciplinary hearing.

“The reading of the letter was meant to influence the outcome of the disciplinary proceedings since all members of the disciplinary committee were present in the hall when the letter was read out,” argued the ministers.

They also complained that the disciplinary committee treated them as accused persons and summoned them to appear before the committee individually “yet we wrote as collective of the trio and co-signed it.”

Zanu PF sources said Mphoko, who is also sympathetic to the G40 faction, has since instructed the ministers to hand in their supporting evidence so that the appeal can be handled. Mnangagwa’s backers fear that the national disciplinary committee is likely to rule that due process was not followed in Midlands, paving way for the Mphoko led committee to hear the matter.

Sources revealed the G40 group had always planned that the matter be handled at national level, where they have Mphoko, Grace and Kasukuwere’s influence.

Kasukuwere, a key G40 member, wrote a letter to President Robert Mugabe in December recommending Wadyajena, Ncube and Samambwe’s suspension from the party over the matter. Kasukuwere also said his investigations had revealed that Mnangagwa’s right hand man July Moyo, was playing a key role in the Midlands factional fights.

He recommended Moyo’s suspension.

Zanu PF insiders said Kasukuwere’s recommendations were in line with G40’s thinking, meaning there could be doom for Moyo, Wadyajena, Ncube and Samambwe if the national disciplinary committee handles the matter.

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