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VP Nkomo blocks Mpofu allies

VICE-PRESIDENT John Nkomo has blocked efforts by Mines minister Obert Mpofu, his rival in the Matabeleland region, to slot his allies onto the Matabeleland North provincial executive.

The latest development is part of a running feud between the two politicians who are battling for control of the region.
Party sources said Nkomo frustrated a bid by Mpofu to restructure the provincial executive that would have resulted in chairman Zenzo Ncube losing his post.
Ncube, sources said, is Nkomo’s ally and he reported the matter to the vice-president who swiftly blocked Mpofu’s move by ordering provincial party members to defy any moves to expel the current executive.
The sources said Nkomo made it clear to Mpofu a month ago that he was the most senior party members in the region and would use his powers to stop any reshuffling of the executive. This left Mpofu with little choice but to shelve the plans, authoritative sources said.
Ncube confirmed that Mpofu and allies were barred from removing him from power after internal discussions.
“We have managed to settle the issue in the party and they no longer want to remove me from office,” he said.
On August 1, Mpofu wrote to Ncube ordering him to call for an urgent provincial coordinating committee meeting on August 21 where a vote of no confidence should have been passed on the provincial executive.
The meeting flopped after it clashed with a central committee meeting held in the capital on the same day. 
Mpofu wrote to Ncube last month that his executive was unsuccessful in championing vibrant party programmes in the province. Ncube was accused of failing to hold meetings, or educating supporters on Zanu PF’s position on the new constitution.
“Mpofu accused Ncube of failing to lead the province and requested an urgent meeting where Mpofu and allies planned to pass a vote of confidence. In the letter, Mpofu said Matabeleland North was a skeleton province due to lack of political activity,” said the source.
Former provincial chairman Headman Moyo headed Mpofu’s list that was supposed to replace Ncube in a coup that would have seen vice chairman Zwelitsha Masuku losing his post. Sithembile Gumbo should have taken over from Madeline Bhebhe as women’s league chairperson.
Zanu PF central committee members who were linked to Mpofu’s plans included his wife Sikhanyisiwe, Fati Mpofu, Melly Nkomo, Rebecca Fameli and Josephine Moyo. The central committee members held meetings earlier this year at Mpofu’s personal York House offices in Bulawayo to plot the move, which sources said has not been permanently shelved.
Mpofu’s other allies include Bulawayo war veterans’ leader Themba Ncube, former Bulawayo councillor Emmanuel Kanjoma, businessman Charles Chiponda, Anna Moyo, Sifelani Dube, Otilia Pasipanodya and Emily Hela.
Zanu PF insiders said Mpofu’s plans faced serious resistance from other Matabeleland North central committee members like Sithembiso Nyoni, Sithokozile Mathuthu, Cain Mathema and Samuel Mgande who are Nkomo’s close allies.
Mpofu, who has repeatedly refused to talk to the Zimbabwe Independent, again refused to comment.
“I don’t talk to people I don’t know,” Mpofu said before abruptly terminating the conversation.
Efforts to get a comment from Nkomo were fruitless.


Brian Chitemba

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