SCORES of former Zanu PF officials, including ex-cabinet ministers Francis Nhema, Flora Bhuka, Webster Shamu and Nicholas Goche, who were either expelled or suspended from the party for supporting former vice-president Joice Mujuru’s presidential bid, are set to bounce back through the central committee.
The move is aimed at disabling Mujuru’s Zimbabwe People First party while also providing arsenal to the two main factions in the party, particularly the G40 group, which has been hunting for heavyweight candidates to challenge Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Sources in the party revealed the party had received numerous appeals by former officials expelled or suspended from the party without going for hearings, following President Robert Mugabe’s directive that the central committee should reconsider the purges. Shamu, Goche and Nhema are believed to be among those who appealed. Mugabe made the directive at a politburo meeting a fortnight ago and repeated his assertions at the party’s central committee meeting the following day.
Zanu PF spokesperson Simon Khaya Moyo confirmed the party had received numerous appeals.
“What I know is that the constitution provides that whoever feels aggrieved by the decision taken by the National Disciplinary Committee and endorsed by the politburo can approach the central committee. As you know many people went without hearings. I’m told some have appealed to the secretary of administration, but I don’t have the names and the numbers,” he said.
“The central committee can’t in terms of numbers sit in one place for the hearings, because there are 300 people in the body, but modalities are being worked out.”
Asked specifically if Mujuru’s supporters will be readmitted, Moyo said: “Of course others may not think about appealing, but others, even those who went for hearings are free to appeal.”
Sources in Zanu PF said although Mugabe made the directive following complaints from Mnangagwa and his backers, after the vice-president’s backers were suspended without facing disciplinary hearings, the G40 faction has for some time been engaging Mujuru’s former allies to bolster its numbers. The faction wants to use the opportunity to bring on board sympathisers, who were loyal to Mujuru.
“Mugabe’s order will pave way for several officials to bounce back including those whom the G40 faction has been trying to bring back on board. This includes the likes of Goche, Shamu and former politburo member Tendai Savanhu among others,” said an official.
“It is however not clear, whether if the suspensions or expulsions are overturned, they will work with the G40 faction because some of the officials have bad relations with key G40 members. It may not be as straight forward as it looks because some of Mujuru’s former backers such as Defence minister Sydney Sekeramayi have refused to work with the G40 faction despite their overtures, choosing instead a middle of the road approach.”
Mujuru lost the party and state vice-presidency in December 2014 before being expelled alongside several heavyweights, among them former Zanu PF secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa and former spokesperson Rugare Gumbo. Nine provincial chairpersons were also expelled ahead of the party’s December congress.
Mugabe also removed several senior officials from their government positions in addition to the suspensions and expulsions. Among the affected were Mutasa, who lost his Presidential Affairs ministerial post, and former political commissar Webster Shamu, who was also the Information Communication Technology minister. Other high-profile casualties included Francis Nhema (Youth, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment), Olivia Muchena (Higher Education), Dzikamai Mavhaire (Energy), Nicholas Goche (Public Service), Andrew Langa (Sports), Simbaneuta Mudarikwa (Mashonaland East Provincial Affairs minister) and Munacho Mutezo (Energy deputy minister).
Flora Buka (Minister of State for Presidential Affairs), Paul Chimedza (Health deputy minister), Sylvester Nguni (Minister of State in former Vice-President Mujuru’s Office), Tongai Muzenda (Public Service deputy minister), Petronella Kagonye (Transport deputy minister), Fortune Chasi (Justice Deputy minister) and Tendai Savanhu (Lands deputy minister) were also not spared.