ZANU PF’s firing of former Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) advisor and Bikita West Member of Parliament Munyaradzi Kereke is a manifestation of the internecine factional fighting threatening to rip Zanu PF apart.
The Kereke case became the frontline of factional battles between long-time rivals Vice-President Joice Mujuru and Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs minister Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Kereke is widely associated with Mnangagwa, who was guest of honour at his birthday party at Nyika Growth Point in Masvingo in April last year where he launched a mobile clinic for essential health services and donated 30 tonnes of maize.
Masvingo Zanu PF chairperson Lovemore Matuke and secretary for administration Edmond Mhere found themselves between the proverbial rock and a hard place courtesy of the Mujuru faction which demanded they respect a politburo decision that former RBZ employee Elias Musakwa be the official party candidate. Conversely, the Mnangagwa faction, whose campaign was headed by Major-General Engelbert Rugeje, insisted on Kereke’s candidature.
The Mujuru faction has since won this round after managing not only to get Kereke booted out of the party, but has instructed Speaker of the National Assembly Jacob Mudenda to declare the seat vacant and call for a by-election.
Kereke ran on a Zanu PF ticket, despite his expulsion from the party on July 10 by the politburo prior to a Nomination Court sitting. The motion to expel him was moved by politburo member Nelson Mawema and seconded by Masvingo minister of State for Provincial Affairs Kudakwashe Bhasikiti, a close ally of Mujuru.
A politburo insider said: “Mawema is the one who raised the issue of indiscipline and our failure as the party leadership to implement decisions of the politburo. Bhasikiti supported him saying as the Minister of State for Provincial Affairs, he faces problems of how to deal with Kereke.
“President Mugabe nodded in agreement and said they should squeeze him out of Zanu PF.”
Zanu PF national secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa has already written to Mudenda disowning Kereke.
Senior party insiders claim Matuke was under severe pressure from both factions to endorse the two candidates.
“Matuke was pressured by members of Mujuru’s faction to endorse Elias Musakwa as the Bikita West constituency official candidate, while members from Mnangagwa’s faction pushed for the candidature of Kereke through the military with equal vigour,” the source said.
“This put Matuke in an extremely tight position considering the power the military wields. They (the military) were running the election campaign and were definitely in charge.”
The politburo has since ordered Matuke and Mhere to appear before a disciplinary committee.
Contacted for comment Matuke refused to shed light on the Kereke saga, claiming he would not comment until the issue is resolved.
“I am not in a position to say anything right now,” Matuke said. “All I can say is that I am a happy man that Zanu PF reclaimed Masvingo during my tenure as chairperson. We delivered as a party and we will not give room to factionalism.”