Gono’s senatorial bid widens factional rifts in Zanu PF

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THE Zanu PF politburo remains divided over former Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor Gideon Gono’s bid to replace the late party stalwart Kumbirai Kangai as senator in Manicaland, with the faction linked to Vice-President Joice Mujuru still pushing despite towering hurdles on his way.

The faction led by Justice minister Emmerson Mnangagwa is, however, adamant the matter is closed after the politburo upheld Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) chairperson Justice Rita Makarau’s position that Gono is ineligible for the position as he is not a registered voter in Manicaland.

Mnangagwa, Zanu PF secretary for legal affairs, was quoted in the state media saying: “There is no issue. Zec has made its decision and we as the party are not contesting that decision.”

However, Zanu PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo, believed to be in the Mujuru faction, insisted yesterday, as he did after Wednesday’s politburo meeting, that the party’s legal committee was tasked with finding ways of accommodating Gono.

Gumbo said: “I stand by my statement as far as the Gono issue is concerned. The case has not been concluded. We are waiting for the various processes by the legal department to be completed.
“As I said after the politburo meeting, we agreed that we go by what was stated by the Zec chairperson for now. However, the politburo directed the legal department to find ways of ensuring that Gono can take up the senate seat.”

Gumbo added: “There are various processes in parliament to align the laws with the new constitution, so the outcome of these processes will determine if the Gono issue is closed.

“What I said is the politburo’s position. Mnangagwa is the one who is off-side. What he said is not what was discussed and resolved in the politburo. What he said are things he should say in his circles, not publicly.”

Gumbo’s clash with Mnangagwa over the Gono issue shows how Zanu PF is deeply divided these days along factional lines on almost everything ahead of its crucial congress in December.

Mnangagwa, who a few months ago tried to secure an alliance with Gono by, among other things, bestowing him an honorary life membership for the Midlands Show Society, is reportedly frustrating senate plans by the ex-central bank boss as a way of hitting back at him. Despite that he says he does not belong to factions, Gono is being supported on this matter by the Mujuru camp.

Mnangagwa, who is the patron of the Midlands Show Society, wrote two letters to Gono — one inviting him to a dinner to award him honorary life membership of the Midlands Show Society and another one asking him to present a paper on indigenisation in August.
Gono said yesterday the matter was an internal issue being dealt by the relevant party organs. “I have nothing to say as this matter was a party issue being handled internally by relevant organs and officials,” he said.

“This is purely an internal matter which was discussed by the party and is being handled by its internal organs. I’m just a proposed deployee of the party who will obey the party’s wishes.”

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