POLITICAL divisions in Zanu PF’s Mashonaland West province have deepened after senior provincial officials were assaulted at a meeting in Chinhoyi on Sunday as the fight for control of the province intensified
Tension was on a knife’s edge at a provincial coordinating committee meeting where former chairman John Mafa and Chakari MP Wurayayi Zacharia Ziyambi were dragged out of the meeting and beaten up by Zanu PF party officials
This, Mafa said in a letter to the party’s national leadership, was all done in front of politburo members who attended the meeting, who included political commissar for the Women’s League Olivia Muchena, lands secretary Ignatius Chombo, national commissar Webster Shamu, (pictured) and his deputy Ephraim Masawi.According to the letter Mafa wrote to the secretary for administration, Didymus Mutasa, asking for the party presidium’s intervention, only Masawi and Muchena tried to intervene, while the others just watched.
The letter was copied to President Robert Mugabe, his deputies John Nkomo and Joice Mujuru, and national chairman Simon Khaya Moyo.
“The surprising and disappointing factor in all this is that senior party members had watched all these happenings without any attempt to intervene or alleviate the situation with the exception of Cdes Masawi and Muchena,” read the letter dated April 13.
Mutasa last night confirmed to the Zimbabwe Independent receipt of the letter, saying he would present the matter to the politburo at its next meeting on April 28.
“I have received the letter. I will present it to the politburo at its next meeting on the 28th of April and the party leadership will decide then what to do,” Mutasa said.
Shamu yesterday said the commissariat did not condone violence in the party, adding that they would look into the matter.
He said people should learn to resolve their differences amicably instead of resorting to such “wayward behaviour”.
“We condemn unreservedly any behaviour like that,” he said. “We shall definitely be looking into all issues like this and anywhere else. Where there are contradictions people need to learn to deal with such contradictions. We don’t condone behaviour that is wayward, just as much as we are going to wage a war against unbridled ambition, corruption, factionalism, regionalism and tribalism,” Shamu said.
He said Masawi intervened to control the situation on behalf the commissariat and him.
However, Chombo dismissed Mafa’s allegations that he was beaten up in front of them as fiction.
“The meeting was very good,” he said. “Nothing like that happened at that meeting on Sunday unless he is talking about another meeting which I did not attend. I just saw him talking to Shamu and Masawi and he walked out thereafter. Talk to Shamu. All I know is that they were not supposed to be there because they are no longer members of the provincial executive,” Chombo said.
While Mafa said he called for the meeting to welcome Shamu, Masawi, Muchena and other politburo members who were appointed to their new positions in February, Shamu said it was organised by the commissariat as part of its familiarisation tour of the provinces.
According to Mafa’s letter: “Before the meeting was convened, Cde (Robert) Sikanyika (the new provincial chairman) ordered (Temba) Mliswa (suspended provincial lands secretary) and myself from the meeting. I was violently removed from the room by what I deem to be thugs hired by the senior party members.
“The action was based on the premise that I am no longer the provincial chairman. Further, the MP for Chakari, Ziyambi, was beaten up at the meeting and had his mobile phone damaged.”
Mafa is challenging his suspension together with seven other provincial members. They were suspended in January.
He said as far as he was concerned he was still the chairman after he was supposedly reinstated by the then acting political commissar, Richard Ndlovu.
“I then tend to wonder if it is party policy to hire, embarrass and to beat up party members and if so the repercussions this will have on our sacrosanct party policies and principles,” Mafa said. “The action of these thugs recalls to my mind the ‘Top Six’ which we thought was a passing phase in our esteemed party. Cde Sikanyika was the leader of the group and it is disconcerting that as he has been appointed chairman, the group has yet again reared its ugly head.”
He said the violence and rape committed by the ‘Top Six’ was something which the province had vowed would never be repeated.