THE Zanu PF politburo on Wednesday discussed the explosive statement issued by former vice-president Emmerson Mnangagwa in which he threatened to lead a popular revolt against President Robert Mugabe under a cloud of a looming wave of new purges, the Zimbabwe Independent can reveal.
By Wendy Muperi
The meeting deliberated in detail the potential purges designed to prevent party heavyweights linked to Mugabe’s ousted deputy from contesting in central committee elections and retaining top positions.
Among the big names which could be affected by the removals are State Security minister Kembo Mohadi, Senator Tambudzani Mohadi, Environment minister Oppah Muchinguri, Cyber Security minister Patrick Chinamasa and Minister of State in the Presidents’ Office Responsible for National Scholarships Chris Mushohwe.
According to sources, Mnangagwa’s statement, which threatened to overthrow Mugabe in a few weeks’ time, was read by the party’s secretary for administration Ignatius Chombo after the issue was raised by national commissar Saviour Kasukuwere.
Mugabe and his wife Grace reportedly looked unmoved by Mnangagwa’s threats, dismissing the hard-hitting speech as the handiwork of expelled war veterans leader Chris Mutsvangwa. “The President revealed that former vice-president Mnangagwa wrote him a letter thanking him for the time they worked together after he was dismissed,” a politburo source said.
“He said the language and presentation was very different from the letter he wrote to him. He said the signature was also different and therefore it was not Mnangagwa who wrote the letter, but probably the likes of Mutsvangwa.”
The issue was immediately abandoned and Kasukuwere then reported that there were some names that had been listed by provinces for expulsion for involvement in Mnangagwa’s succession project.
Mugabe allegedly said all names should be forwarded to Zanu PF’s national disciplinary committee which would determine each case according to the party’s constitution.
According to sources, those listed have been technically barred from contesting for central committee positions ahead of the party’s December extraordinary congress.
This would also prevent them from forming the pool of central committee members to be appointed in the politburo.
The sources also claimed that several big names will be excluded as a result of the plan. Should next year’s elections be held before the cases are finalised, the targeted individuals will also be unable to contest in the party’s primary elections and be resultantly booted out of office.
“The President ordered that all cases should be referred to the NDC (national disciplinary committee) and be resolved according to the party’s constitution,” said another politburo member.
“The move will technically bar the members from contesting in CC (central committee) elections currently being held in the provinces. The president said all members should come through the provinces and should be selected from there for CC (central committee) positions.”
Those privy to the developments also said that the individuals facing the chop wore glum faces synonymous with mourners at a funeral.
Mugabe dismissed Mnangagwa on Monday from his position as vice-president of Zimbabwe, barely 24 hours after he fired warning shots at the Bulawayo youth interface rally, angrily reacting to young supporters who booed his wife.
He accused Mnangagwa’s supporters of bussing youths to heckle the First Family, while cheering the former vice-president, whose remaining in the party was being viewed as a threat on succession.
Announcing the dismissal, secretary for information Simon Khaya Moyo said Mnangagwa was fired for “disloyalty, deceitfulness and lacking in probity when executing his duties”.
His expulsion from the party was formalised at yesterday’s politburo meeting following recommendations from the provinces. He becomes the second vice-president to be fired after Joice Mujuru who was shown the exit door in 2014 on similar accusations.
Harare recommended the expulsion of Politburo members Cleveria Chizema and Omega Hungwe, as well as Harare East National Assembly representative Terrence Mukupe.
Matabeleland South forwarded 15 names, including State Security minister Kembo Mohadi and Home Affairs deputy minister Obedingwa Mguni, provincial chairman Rabelani Choeni, central committee members Reni Kibi and Tambudzani Mohadi, provincial war veterans’ chairman Section Ncube and former Provincial Affairs minister Abednico Ncube, Never Khanye, William Dhewa, Elizabeth Moyo, Japhet Dube, Mthandazo Sibanda, Cecilia Ndubiwa, Qanjiwe Mpande and Sifinini Rona Moyo.
In the Midlands, Mbizo legislator Usheunesu Mpereri and provincial chairman Daniel Mackenzie Ncube were recommended for expulsion.
Masvingo wants provincial chairman Ezra Chadzamira, national secretary for production and labour Josiah Hungwe, deputy secretary for legal affairs Paul Mangwana, deputy secretary for security Lovemore Matuke and central committee member Clemence Makwarimba out.
Manicaland province recommended the ejection of 38 members, among them, three politburo members namely Oppah Muchinguri, Patrick Chinamasa and Chris Mushohwe. Other notable members recommended for expulsion include Mike Madiro, Joshua Sacco, Moses Gutu, Winnie Mlambo, Joseph Mujati, Christopher Chingosho, Alice Chitima, Oliver Mandipaka, Gorden Chikwanda, Timothy Mapungwana, Monica Mutsvangwa, Ellen Gwaradzimba, Tasin Dube, Hubert Nyanhongo and Judith Mawire. Mashonaland West is seeking divorce from politburo member Prisca Mupfumira and Zvimba West National Assembly member Ziyambi Ziyambi.
Former Mashonaland East chairperson Joel Biggie Matiza and Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly Mabel Chinomona will also be investigated on the charge of supporting Mnangagwa together with other 12 members. Similar purges took place in 2014 as the ruling party sought to eliminate Mujuru allies. Mugabe, who turns 94 in February, will be the Zanu PF presidential candidate in next year’s election.