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'Ousted' Zanu PF Chairman Defiant, Says Reveres First Family

FILE: Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe addresses the crowd gathered to commemorate Heroes Day in Harare, Aug. 12, 2013.

Zanu PF chairman for Matabeleland South province, Andrew Langa, has rubbished the vote of no confidence passed on him Monday, calling it unprocedural and nonsensical.

The sanctions stemmed from allegations that Langa is disrespectful of First Lady Grace Mugabe and that he is aligning with a faction that wants President Mugabe out of office.

His accusers also charge that the Sports Minister tried to sabotage Mrs. Mugabe's rally in Gwanda last month by withholding vehicles earmarked to ferry attendees.

Though he refused to grant a radio interview, Langa hit back with a written statement, saying “I have never disrespected the First Lady as alleged,” adding he “reveres" the first family.

“The meeting where the petition was signed was not a properly constituted meeting of our Zanu PF party structures as no notice was given to members to attend and discuss the issues raised,” Langa said.

“This is against both our party constitution and the laws of natural justice. The irregular scheduling was designed to refuse the majority of our provincial coordinating committee (PCC) members, including me, an opportunity to challenge the allegations contained in the so-called motion.”

He continued: “Of the 50 provincial executives, only 19 signed the purported motion making their claim to have ousted me nonsensical and of no effect. The other 15 signatures are not from members of the provincial executive.”

Several other Zanu PF provincial chairmen, including Themba Mliswa of Mashonaland West, Harare Metropolitan’s Amos Midzi and Jason Machaya of Midlands, have been elbowed out by elements loyal to Emmerson Mnangagwa, who accuse them of backing Vice President Joyce Mujuru.

Observers say the Mnangagwa loyalists aim to elliminate all Mujuru backers ahead of the party’s elective Congress in December.