President Mugabe has directed all Zanu-PF Mashonaland Central structures to stop holding divisive meetings, and allow the party’s top leadership to determine the fate of National Political Commissar Cde Saviour Kasukuwere.
Cde Kasukuwere is accused of trying to unseat President Mugabe, allegedly creating parallel party structures to support his machinations at an Extraordinary Congress of the ruling party.
The past two weeks have seen Zanu-PF officials in Mashonaland Central hold a series of meetings to either push Cde Kasukuwere out, or to support him and instead shut out his accusers.
Cde Kasukuwere is said to be working with his half-brother Cde Dickson Mafios – the party’s provincial chairman – to unseat President Mugabe.
Last week, 14 Zanu-PF National Assembly representatives from Mashonaland Central attended a meeting to “reaffirm” their call for Cde Kasukuwere and his henchmen to be booted out of office.
Some of the MPs said Cdes Kasukuwere and Mafios threatened to expel them.
The Sunday Mail established that deputy provincial chair Cde Kazembe Kazembe presided over the anti-Kasukuwere meeting; while Cde Mafios held a pro-Kasukuwere one.
The frenzied manoeuvring yesterday saw Mashonaland Central Provincial Affairs Minister, Advocate Martin Dinha, advising that President Mugabe wanted the meetings stopped immediately, and that law enforcement agencies would deal with any breaches of the order according to law.
Adv Dinha also said intimidation and victimisation of party members would not be tolerated.
“I, as directed by His Excellency, the President, Cde RG Mugabe, hereby, in the interest of law and order, public order and preservation of the party discipline and protocol, while we await due process on matters referred to relevant authorities and in conformity to the Principal’s position aforementioned, direct that:
“Until the matters referred to the President and First Secretary, Politburo and National Disciplinary Committee are disposed of and until these organs make a pronouncement on the outcome or resolution of the referred to grievances or petitions, none of the above provincial authorities, that is Cde Mafios and his provincial executive, comprising youth, women and main wings of Zanu-PF, and Kazembe Kazembe’s provincial executive of the same composition shall call or convene or cause to be called or convened any provincial executive council or provincial council or provincial co-ordinating committee or inter-district meetings in Mashonaland Central forthwith.
“Further, the province, in particular, and our office will not tolerate any victimisation or intimidation of party members.”
Yesterday, Cde Kazembe said: “We have complied with the directive which was issued by the Minister of State, and in that regard, we have actually cancelled the meeting that we had planned to have (yesterday) in Mazowe. We respect the party leadership and will wait to be directed accordingly by our superiors.
“The rationale of the meetings that we have been having was to brief the structures on party developments, mainly that the province has petitioned President Mugabe to remove Cdes Kasukuwere and Mafios, and also that there was a provincial prohibition order against these two.
“The people are the ones who gave us the petitions, so we felt it was important for us to give them feedback on the progress made regarding the issues they had raised.”
Zanu-PF Mashonaland Central spokesperson Cde Fredrick Nhaka said Cde Mafios had threatened to “expel Members of Parliament who side with Cde Kazembe”.
“About 14 of the 18 Members of Parliament in Mashonaland Central made it clear that they were not in support of Cde Kasukuwere and Cde Mafios. These MPs I am talking about have been attending meetings led by Cde Kazembe while Cde Mafios’ meetings have been attended by Cde Wonder Mashange and a few others.
“Cde Mafios has been intimidating those rooting for disciplinary action against him, also threatening to expel MPs and other office-bearers.”
Muzarabani North National Assembly representative Cde Alfred Mafunga added: “Cde Mafios held a meeting in Guruve and together with Cde (Wonder) Mashange. They threatened to expel a number of MPs, including myself, from the party.
“Our position as MPs is: We are not saying that Cde Mafios and Cde Kasukuwere should be immediately expelled from the party, but should just step aside while due process unfolds as their matter is resolved by higher authorities. We cannot work with them in the province when there are pending issues against them.”
Another MP, Cde Douglas Karoro (Mbire constituency) weighed in, “I was at a hotel prior to last week’s Politburo and Central Committee meetings and some people warned that they would get rid of me if I continued to take part in demonstrations against Cdes Kasukuwere and Mafios.
“I was involved in the demonstrations that took place in Bindura because I had a problem in my constituency where provincial members were refusing to work with me, saying they were taking instructions from ‘higher offices’.”
Yesterday, Cde Mafios said, “We were first given a directive by (Cde Kasukuwere) on Thursday to stop holding meetings until after Easter. We then heard of the directive from Minister Dinha on Friday. We are going to comply with both directives.”
Asked about his alleged threats, Cde Mafios said: “It’s based on rumours. People are saying anything they want to soil my name.”
Cdes Kasukuwere is also accused of trying to block Zanu-PF Women’s League demonstrations against former deputy secretary Cde Eunice Nomthandzao Moyo and ex-finance secretary Cde Sarah Mahoka, who resigned after being variedly accused of undermining First Lady Amai Grace Mugabe, Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa, and Presidential Spokesperson Mr George Charamba; and swindling party funds.
Mashonaland Central turned up the heat with a round of demonstrations against Cdes Kasukuwere and Mafios.
Other provinces also joined in, and President Mugabe counselled that grievances should be dealt with via formal channels.
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