A POTENTIALLY explosive meeting of the Zanu PF Masvingo provincial co-ordinating committee (PCC) had to be cancelled on Saturday amid reports that party officials aligned to Justice minister Emmerson Mnangagwa’s faction wanted to confront provincial chairperson Callisto Gwanetsa for unilaterally nominating the presidium.
Zanu PF sources said Gwanetsa, who had organised the PCC meeting, did not turn up at Chief’s Hall in Masvingo, the venue for the meeting, but instead sent his personal assistant, a Matarise, to announce that the meeting had been cancelled.
The sources said most of the PCC members had converged at the venue where a group of singing war veterans was waiting anxiously for Gwanetsa whom they wanted to explain why he had announced a list of the presidium on behalf of the province without consulting the PCC and other critical organs of the party.
Gwanetsa, who is linked to Vice-President Joice Mujuru’s faction, torched a storm soon after the youth and women’s conferences when he announced that Masvingo was endorsing President Robert Mugabe and Mujuru and Simon Khaya Moyo as his deputies, and Didymus Mutasa for the chairmanship ahead of the Zanu PF congress.
PCCs could play a crucial role in determining the country’s next leader. The Zanu PF constitution stipulates that any candidate receiving nomination of at least six of the 10 provinces will be directly “elected” to the presidency by the national people’s congress, although now the party is talking about using a secret ballot in December.
The PCC acts as the elections directorate of the province and monitors and recommends any political or development programmes and initiatives in the province.
The PCC comprises of the provincial executive committees, members of the central committee in the province, members of the national consultative assembly, the provincial executive committee of the Women’s League, the provincial executive committee of the Youth League and members of parliament from the province.
Gwanetsa was quoted as saying: “Why would we want to change a winning team? This is the very team that took us from the doldrums of an inclusive government and we are certain that they are doing a splendid job.
“As a province, we are strongly behind the leadership of President Mugabe along with his second-in-command, Amai Mujuru.
For the post of Second Vice President we prefer to have our national chairman taking over while Mutasa should be elevated to the national chairmanship post,” Gwanetsa said.
The sources said war veterans had gathered at the venue demanding an explanation from Gwanetsa on why decisions were being made without consultation of the PCC.
“We were told that there will be a meeting on Saturday to discuss, among other things, the announcement that Masvingo endorsed the re-election of the whole presidium, a position which we are not aware of as executive members,” said a senior Zanu PF official from Masvingo, who added that they sat the whole day waiting for Gwanetsa to turn up.
“He was scared to address the meeting because he jumped the gun. That was not our position as a province.”
Contacted for comment Gwanetsa said: “Send a letter to Zanu PF Masvingo office — I respond to written down questions.”
The Masvingo debacle also comes in the backdrop of reports that the Zanu PF Midlands province has gone for more than six months without a provincial executive following the dissolution of the committee by the commissariat after it failed to comply with a politburo directive to co-opt some of the members that had been excluded from the committee, despite being voted for by their respective districts.
The Zanu PF national commissariat dissolved the Midlands provincial executive following irregularities that punctuated the provincial elections last year as well as failure to comply with the party directive to allow all members who were elected into the provincial basket to participate in the provincial elections.
Authority to administer party business was left in the hands of the provincial chairman, Jason Machaya, chairperson of the Women’s League Ellina Shirichena and Youth League chairperson Edmore Samambwa.
In an interview on Wednesday, Zanu PF national spokesperson Rugare Gumbo said the province was yet to comply with the politburo directive.
“The outstanding issue is the co-option of some of the members that had been excluded from the basket. These members were voted into the baskets in their respective districts. However, they were not allocated posts in the provincial executive,” he said.
“To date only four members have been co-opted into the provincial executive out of 25.”