Friday, October 31, 2014

Zimbabwe President Mugabe Takes Side in ZANU-PF Factional Dispute
Zimbabwe Vice-President Joice Mujuru, President Robert Mugabe
and Emerson Mnangagwa who is said to lead the faction allied with
First Lady Amai Grace Mugabe.
Nov 1 2014 - 2:25am
By Fungi Kwaramba
Zimbabwe Daily News

HARARE – Vice President Joice Mujuru’s enemies within Zanu PF went for broke on Thursday, bussing in hundreds of youths and women, many of them from the Midlands, to agitate for her dismissal at the tense politburo meeting that was held at the party’s headquarters in Harare.

The party hardliners who organised the well-choreographed demonstration — with the twin objective of shoring up First Lady Grace Mugabe’s political fortunes and crushingº Mujuru’s — were supported by President Robert Mugabe when he addressed the gathered youths and a few war veterans.

This was despite the fact that the youths had clearly defied his Tuesday plea, at a luncheon for legislators, for order and respect for party bigwigs, including himself.

Mugabe also backed Grace’s controversial entry into formal party politics yesterday, hinting further that the forthcoming Zanu PF elective congress would see the demise of Mujuru, his embattled party and government’s number two.

He told the disorderly crowd, bussed into Harare by a faction opposed to the VP, that there was nothing wrong with his wife, who has made sensational and divisive allegations against Mujuru, seeking political office.

And as the bussed crowds chanted “Joice ngaande” (Joice must go), a chuckling Mugabe, who appeared to be enjoying the moment and abuse of his deputy, said even when marriages broke up, the wife would customarily be given time to pack her bags and go — implying that it was a matter of time before Mujuru was given her marching orders.

“The party has its way of doing things. You cannot tell your wife to leave on the very day when you break up. You consult other people and those you don’t like you will not vote for them come congress,” Mugabe said ominously.

This was the first time that Mugabe had openly and clearly sided with one of the main factions in his troubled party.

Curiously, police did not escape the severe and vocal criticism at yesterday’s gathering, with the angry yobs branding Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri and his team as appendages of Mujuru and the “Gamatox” faction.

Instead of the police, the crowd wanted soldiers to take charge of their rally — hinting at divisions among the security and law enforcement agencies in the party’s deadly factional and succession wars.

Among the prominent players who addressed the crowd yesterday were Joseph Chinotimba, Shuvai Mahofa — who has been retrieved from political dustbins in Masvingo — as well as discredited war veteran Paul Nyaruwata, who called for the ouster of popular war veterans’ leader Jabulani Sibanda.

“Ndimi makatikumbira kuti tikupei mukadzi…tauya nhasi…nguva yakwana. Hapana anonzi firapo…pane varikupa varungu minda…tinokumbira kuti munhu wese ari corrupt mukandei pasi, tokudai makachena (Your Excellency you asked us to give you a woman deputy and today we are here because it is time for a change? No one should expect to die in office … some among us are giving whites land … we ask you to fire all corrupt people),” said Mahofa.

Nyaruwata, who was chased from the leadership of the war veterans’ association for gross corruption said, “We are tired of Jabulani Sibanda. We have had different chairpersons and we are here as war vets to dissociate ourselves from what Jabulani Sibanda said. He was once suspended, how did he come back?”.

Ironically Sibanda himself was suspended a decade ago, along with six provincial chairpersons of Zanu PF, following a failed “coup” that was ostensibly meant to catapult Justice minister Emmerson Mnangagwa into the vice presidency post that was later occupied by Mujuru.

Clearly revelling in the occasion and playing to the gallery, Mugabe questioned the political stamina of Sibanda, who has staunchly opposed his wife’s divisive entry into politics — saying leadership in Zanu PF is not “sexually transmitted” and that war veterans were opposed to “bedroom coups”.

“There is nowhere in the Zanu PF constitution where it is said the president’s wife cannot contest for positions. Charwadza vamwe chii? Even ma war vets wamuri kuti Jabulani, charwadza chii? Madzimai pachavo ndovakati toda kuti amai vatitungamirire, chakaipa chii? Handisi ini ndakadaro (What is troubling you? The Women’s League is the one that asked that Grace leads them, what’s wrong with that? It’s not me who decided that,” Mugabe said.

Mugabe also accused the war veterans’ leader of being “possessed by Satan” and said the army would not stand aside and watch while Sibanda challenged him.

“Jabulani anotaura sekunge akabatwa naSatan,” he said.

Exposing that the demonstration was well-choreographed Mugabe said, “we hear that Jabulani Sibanda stopped some buses from coming…asi Jabulani akutonga nyika kani (is Jabulani now running this country)?”.

The crowd shouted down party secretary for administration, Didymus Mutasa, when he sought to address them. Mutasa coined the phrase Gamatox a few months ago while imploring Mugabe to use the deadly pesticide to deal with “weevils” that have allegedly infiltrated the party.

As Mutasa chanted pamberi ne Zanu PF, the youths demanded that he says “Pasi neGamatox”, which he refused to do.

“Handiite izvozvo” Mutasa said.

And just as his wife has done publicly, Mugabe revealed his dislike of Mashonaland East chairperson Ray Kaukonde. He also attacked Mashonaland West chairperson Temba Mliswa, whom he accused of behaving like “a king”.

“Kune ma chairman vataona vakabva vadhakwa nehukuru ihwohwo zvimwe chete nachairman wekuMashonaland West. Anofunga kuti ane masimba ehu king anodarika vaMugabe (There are party chairmen who are drunk with power, like the Mashonaland West one. He thinks that he has powers similar to those of a king, which are bigger than Mugabe’s)”.

Analysts interviewed by the Daily News yesterday said all indications were that a splitting of the party now looked inevitable, with the only hope being that this would occur without violence and loss of lives.

“I think Zanu PF has now reached a point of no return. Mugabe came out loudly and clearly today (yesterday) that he is on his wife’s side and that Mujuru has no space in his team.

“If one then takes into account the fact that he (Mugabe) openly supported the move by hardliners in his party to have their way, via mob rule clocked as a spontaneous demo by so-called war veterans, then the inescapable conclusion is that the die has now been cast, and that the feared split will now happen in all likelihood.

“With Mujuru likely to be turfed out soon, possibly at the party’s December congress, the hope is that this looming split does not happen violently and with loss of lives. But the omens are not good given the history and culture of the party,” said analyst Shephered Mntungwa.

An emotional senior Zanu PF official, who requested anonymity, said yesterday was one of the “saddest days” in the history of Zanu PF.

“The hyenas (Mujuru’s party opponents) are getting their way for now and they think they are winning. What they don’t realise is that they have planted seeds of destruction that will ultimately destroy them and the party.

“Today is one of the saddest days in the history of Zanu PF, where the party’s machinery is being used against a poor widow (Joice). Did she steal someone’s husband or abuse government funds to build a multi-million dollar mansion in Harare?

“And has she taken multiple farms, many of them from fellow black Zimbabweans, and built a $20 million business overnight using dubious funds as some people have arrogantly admitted? So where is the justice, fairness and principle in all this?” he asked rhetorically in a thinly-veiled attack on Grace.

The demonstrators at the Zanu PF headquarters carried and waved placards that read “Pasi ne 10 percent” (Down with 10 percent), “Jabulani puppet ya Dr 10 Percent” (Jabulani is a puppet of Dr 10%), “Pasi nemaChairman efake” (Down with fake party chairmen) and “Mavambo mumba mako iwe” (Mavambo/Kusile/Dawn was formed in your house). Daily News

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