VICE-PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa last week made a surprise plea for Zanu PF to revert to constitutionalism and restore the rule of law internally as he tried to fight intensifying political purges — suspensions and expulsions of his allies — during Zanu PF’s politburo meeting on Wednesday.
By Elias Mambo
Sources in the politburo said Mnangagwa, whose faction is engaged in a succession war with the G40 faction which has coalesced around First Lady Grace Mugabe, asked Zanu PF national political commissar Saviour Kasukuwere to read what the party constitution says with regards to votes-of-no-confidence and expulsions from the party.
He questioned why party members were either being suspended or expelled without being given the right to be heard through a disciplinary process as required by the party constitution.
“Mnangagwa asked why the constitution is not being followed in spirit and to the letter. He asked why allegations against party members are not being investigated and why party members are not being called for hearings before action is taken,” said a politburo member.
“He then asked Kasukuwere to read the party constitution first so that he is informed on how disciplinary hearings should be held as well as how a motion of a vote-of-no-confidence should be moved.”
According to the Zanu PF constitution Chapter 4, Article 28 subsection 265: “A motion of no confidence shall be by a simple majority of at least two-thirds of all members of the appropriate organ.”
Subsection 266 states that “a motion of no confidence must specify and detail the reasons thereof which reasons shall fall into any one of the following categories, namely: incompetence and/or dereliction of duty, gross misconduct and disloyalty or treachery”.
Mnangagwa, according to politburo insiders, said the party should uphold the constitution and due process before the lawlessness spirals out of control.
“He questioned the suspensions of people who were appointed by President Robert Mugabe, a move that is against the constitution,” said a senior Zanu PF official.
“He also asked how, for instance, the Zanu PF secretary for Youth League Pupurai Togarepi could be booted out by a youth executive when he is a presidential appointee.”
Suspensions and expulsions have been a feature in Zanu PF since Grace teamed up with the Mnangagwa faction ahead of the party’s December 2014 congress to oust former vice-president Joice Mujuru and her high-profile allies.
Mujuru and her backers were booted out through votes-of-no-confidence on the basis of untested allegations, which were denied.
“After Mnangagwa’s presentation, Mugabe ordered the disciplinary committee to review all the cases of suspensions and expulsions which were endorsed by the politburo since 2014,” the official said.
Mnangagwa spoke at a time purges have become the order of the day in Zanu PF. The divisions have resulted in some party officials and lower organs of the party refusing to take orders from superiors, arguing they are acting on factional grounds.
Mugabe and Grace have also been subjected to attacks and ridicule by Mnangagwa’s backers, an indication that the veteran leader is losing grip of the party.
Open defiance by the war veterans ahead of their crucial meeting with Mugabe last week despite his clear attempt to intimidate and whip them into line was one of the pointers that the nonagenarian was losing control of the party and its affiliate bodies.
In the build up to the meeting, Mugabe announced soon after arrival from Japan that war veterans cannot dictate to him how he should re-unite Zanu PF. He said the war veterans association was not part of Zanu PF as it was just an association.
However, in a daring act of defiance, the war veterans openly contradicted Mugabe, saying they were “equal partners” in Zanu PF and that the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA) was not just an affiliate of the ruling party.
ZNLWVA spokesperson Douglas Mahiya said it was folly for anyone to think that former freedom fighters did not have a key role to play in Zanu PF.
“Just as you cannot separate Jesus from God, and cannot separate Jesus from the Holy Spirit, you cannot separate war veterans from Zanu PF. After all, we are the ones who introduced Zanu PF to the masses during the war of liberation,” he said.
“If someone (Mugabe) wants to separate us from Zanu PF, I think it will be a betrayal of the liberation struggle.”
Zanu PF officials told the Zimbabwe Independent that in the past no party official would have the temerity to respond to Mugabe in the manner that Mahiya and other war veterans have been doing.
National political commissar Saviour Kasukuwere has also been defied by some provinces and party officials, who accuse him of advancing G40 interests.
This includes the Midlands province which has refused to recognise Tapiwa Matangaidze whom he imposed after the suspension of Kizito Chivamba. Some Midlands provincial executive members have been shunning meetings called by Matangaidze but have been holding their own meetings.
Some suspended youths among them Godfrey Tsenengamu (Mashonaland Central) and Vengai Musengi (Mashonaland West) and Godwin Gomwe (Harare) have been publicly calling for Mugabe to rein in his wife, whom they accused of destroying the party.