POLITICAL divisions in Zanu PF’s Mashonaland West province are deepening as the party’s executive and senior politburo members fight for control of the province.
Three members of the provincial executive who were suspended on January 15 at a meeting called for by Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo have accused the politburo of trying to take charge of their province.
The provincial chairperson John Mafa, his vice Frank Nhambakuwa, and secretary for lands and resettlement Temba Mliswa were suspended allegedly for repeatedly misrepresenting the provincial co-coordinating committee’s resolutions on elections last year for the national executive committees of the youth and women’s leagues.
However, sources in the provincial executive believe that the three were suspended because of a report the lands committee is preparing that would expose Zanu PF bigwigs and their close family members who are multiple farm owners and those allegedly leasing out their farms to former white commercial farmers.
Sources in the party said there were efforts to suppress the report and this, they claimed, led to the suspension of provincial executive members who sit in the lands committee.
A member of the lands committee said: “All these (land) investigations have resulted in people being victimised. A district administrator is now on forced leave while some lands officers are now going to be transferred. This has also led to the suspension of Mafa and Mliswa who sit on the lands committee.”
In a letter to the acting national political commissar, Richard Ndlovu, copied to President Robert Mugabe, his deputies Joice Mujuru and John Nkomo and other senior party officials, Mafa said the suspensions were unconstitutional.
He said the meeting convened to suspend him and others was not sanctioned by the party.
Mafa’s letter reads: “The meeting was totally out of order. There was no quorum at the meeting. You will recall that we met several times and have advised on the problems in the province concerning the youths and women and now the central committee selections.
“Amongst other issues there have been tribalism, imposition and misuse of the land reform process. I would like to state that I, as chair of the province, divorce myself and my executive from any resolutions passed at the Friday 15th January 2010 meeting as I was not part of the conception of this debacle of a meeting.”
Mafa chronicled the power struggle between his executive and politburo members who want to take control of the province.
He wrote: “I called for the executive meeting a week earlier than the proposed 16th January 2010 date. Surprisingly on the 14th January 2010, Cde Ignatius Chombo called for a co-coordinating meeting for 15th January 2010. I advised him of the difficulty of holding the meeting on this date…
“He however went ahead and advertised for the meeting on the radio and used my name as though I had approved and had sanctioned that meeting, which I had not.”
Mafa said it appeared that each time the provincial executive meeting is called for, there is a counter provincial co-coordinating committee meeting.
“This is evidence that the chairs and facilitators of these meetings do not want my leadership as the provincial chairman,” he said.
When contacted for comment, Chombo said the trio should follow the proper party procedures when aggrieved instead of talking to the media.
“Why are they talking to you?
They know what procedure to follow when aggrieved. If they told you that they wrote to the commissar, well he has not informed us about it,” he said.