ZANU PF is deadlocked over the suspension of three provincial chairpersons as well as the vote-of-no-confidence passed on the chairman of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA), Chris Mutsvangwa, and some of his executive members.
Zanu PF political commissar Saviour Kasukuwere suspended chairpersons Kizito Chivamba (Midlands), Ezra Chadzamira (Masvingo) and Joel Biggie Matiza (Mashonaland East) for alleged disobedience and inciting insolence.
The provincial chairpersons were suspended after allegedly throwing spanners ahead of a Zanu PF Women’s League rally held at the party headquarters before the politburo meeting last Wednesday. The women said the rally was meant to thank President Robert Mugabe for advancing the women’s cause during his tenure as African Union chairperson.
The suspended chairpersons are all Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s allies and have made a stand against First Lady Grace Mugabe, who is part of the Generation 40 (G40) faction daringly trying to shipwreck his bid for the presidency.
Officials backing the provincial chairpersons are however pointing out that Kasukuwere did not follow the party’s constitution before suspending the officials.
Zanu PF’s disciplinary committee on Wednesday met and set up a sub-committee, chaired by Kembo Mohadi, to look into the cases of indiscipline. The next politburo meeting will finalise the cases.
A central committee member from Masvingo said the province had decided to stand by Chadzamira.
“We met on Tuesday and agreed that Chadzamira remains chairperson and we shall only attend meetings which he calls and not anyone else,” said the official.
“We have been abused for too long and we cannot continue. The provincial co-ordinating committee (PCC) which met on Tuesday seconded that position.”
In an interview, Paul Mangwana, who is the Zanu PF deputy secretary for legal affairs, said Masvingo wants the constitution to be adhered to.
“I do not sit in their PCC, but as a politburo member I was invited to just come and listen to their deliberations,” Mangwana said.
“The PCC has written its petition and resolutions to the party secretary for administration Ignatius Chombo and we will be waiting for his response. Masvingo recognises Chadzamira as their chairperson and as a party we have channels of resolving such problems.”
The suspension of Chivamba in Midlands is also being resisted by the PCC. In an interview, Chivamba said Kasukuwere should follow party procedures as the political commissar of the party.
“Article 9 Section 50 of the Zanu PF constitution stipulates roles of the national commissar,” Chivamba said.
“The constitution was dumped as Kasukuwere suspended senior provincial members unilaterally. We have never seen anything like that and Zanu PF will not accept that. We are not saying we cannot be fired but there is a procedure to be followed,” he said.
A copy of the letters of suspensions sent to the chairpersons show that Kasukuwere is accusing them of “bringing the party into disrepute through peddling falsehoods in the media and failing to protect party members who were harassed and assaulted for attending a properly convened rally held at the Zanu PF headquarters.”
However, Chivamba said he did not spread falsehoods because he was asked by the state controlled newspaper why women did not come to the rally.
“I told the reporter that I was not aware of the meeting and just below my comment, the party’s national spokesperson (Simon Khaya Moyo) also said he was not aware of such a meeting,” he said.
“The President also revealed at the rally that he was not aware and was informed three days before the event. So does this mean spreading falsehoods when I am telling the truth?”
Chivamba said reports that women were barred and assaulted for trying to attend the rally were untrue.
“Only one bus was sent to Midlands and it went to Mberengwa. The bus developed a technical fault and failed to come back,” he said.
“Then some members of the Women’s League hired a kombi which brought them to Harare and we thanked them for that intervention. We are challenging those claiming that women were assaulted to use the police to investigate and bring us proof.”
There is also a standstill in Mashonaland East with some officials standing by Matiza and his executive.
However, acting chairperson Benard Makokova on Tuesday suspended three more officials for allegedly barring members from attending the Women’s League rally.
Those suspended include provincial Women’s League chairperson Apolonia Munzverengwi, Tendai Mangwiro (provincial secretary for security) and Hebert Shumbamhini (political commissar).
Mutsvangwa, who was booted out alongside his deputy Headman Moyo and secretary-general Victor Matemadanda as well as his wife Monica, has however refused to go. This has created a stalemate in the party and ZNLWVA.