JUSTICE minister Emmerson Mnangagwa and his Zanu PF faction — the so-called Tsholotsho group — dramatically bounced back yesterday at the charged Zanu PF congress after a bruising battle with the rival camp led by the Vice-President Joice Mujuru which left high-profile casualties strewn all over the political battlefield in the run-up to the event.
Observations at yesterday’s congress confirmed a strong rebound by Mnangagwa and his faction whose members were on cloud nine, while Mujuru’s supporters appeared glum and resigned to their looming fate as they counted their losses.
Mujuru and her high-profile allies — secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa, Nicholas Goche and nine ousted provincial chairpersons, among others — did not attend after being purged from the party structures ahead of congress. They were also warned they were unwelcome at the congress.
Notable members of the Tsholotsho group which in 2004 suffered a humiliating defeat but yesterday were singing and dancing include Speaker of parliament Jacob Mudenda, who was on the high table, former Masvingo governor Josaya Hungwe, Masvingo MP Daniel Shumba, Information minister Jonathan Moyo and former Midlands governor July Moyo, among others.
By contrast, those celebrating in 2004 yesterday cut pitiful sights as they listened to President Robert Mugabe threatening Mujuru and themselves with possible arrests over corruption allegations.
Mujuru’s allies who attended the congress were subjected to humiliation as Zanu PF supporters shouted their names each time Mugabe spoke of sell-outs.
As if the booing was not enough, beleaguered Mbare legislator Tendai Savanhu suffered further embarrassment after a Zanu PF usher removed a garland inserted on jackets of all politburo members.
In 2004, Mnangagwa’s faction was purged after being accused of a palace coup following their Dinyane episode.
However, writing in the Zimbabwe Independent in 2006, Pearson Mbalekwa said the story of Tsholotsho was told albeit by the beneficiaries of a political party that is fraught with hate, fear and a tyrannical leadership.
Mbalekwa said “the actual coup détat against the constitution was not by the so-called Tsholotsho conspirators, but by the politburo that sat at Zanu PF headquarters on November 18 2004 to undermine the party constitution”.
“The constitution was illegally amended to accommodate the preferred candidate of the political mandarins of Zanu PF when it had become clear that Mnangagwa was heading for a clear victory if the party procedure was followed to elect a new vice-president during the congress which was due in December 2004,” he said.
“These political mandarins felt Mnangagwa had to be stopped by every conceivable plot that could be hatched. Those members of the politburo that gathered at the Zanu PF headquarters on November 18 2004 totally and with no regard whatsoever to the requirements of the guiding principles of the party, usurped the power of the central committee which by its very nature is empowered to deal with constitutional matters.”
In 2009, Jonathan Moyo also wrote an article highlighting the truth about the Tsholotsho declaration.
In an article headlined Tsholotsho — the untold truth, Moyo said the Tsholotsho Declaration was made up of four key principles that defined its political thrust.
The declaration sought that the top four leadership positions in the ruling Zanu PF — president and first secretary, two vice-presidents and second secretaries and national chairman — which make up the party’s presidium, should reflect Zimbabwe’s regional diversity and ethnic balance between and among the country’s four major ethnic groupings.
The declaration also wanted to ensure that the top position of president and first secretary of the party was not monopolised by one sub-tribe (or clan), but reasonably rotated among the four major ethnic groupings.
It also addressed the filling of these top four positions which it was felt should not be by imposition by the party hierarchy, but through democratic elections done by secret balloting; and that the filling of the top four leadership positions and the democratic elections should be defined and be guided by and done in accordance with the constitution of the party to promote the rule of law within the party as a foundation for maintaining the rule of law in the country.