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Mugabe Tightens Grip on Zanu PF, Set to Appoint Deputy VPs

FILE: Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe stands with his wife Grace, as they pose for a photo at State House in Harare, Oct, 28, 2014.

After successfully silencing his deputy Joice Mujuru, in a purge that has seen the 90-year old President Robert Mugabe consolidating his grip on Zanu PF and left many party faithfuls in a political wilderness, the president today called for unity in his party as he lashed out at Mrs. Mujuru for allegedly trying to remove him from office.

He said Zanu PF is holding its 6th people’s congress a divided lot after the alleged coup attempts and the purge that followed.

Addressing the Central Committee meeting, a precursor to the congress, President Mugabe accused Mrs. Mujuru and party secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa of mobilizing efforts in an attempt to topple him.

Mr. Mugabe said Mrs. Mujuru and her allies in Zanu PF were collaborating and sharing ideas with some Western countries and the opposition to allegedly effect regime change in Zimbabwe.

He alleged that Mrs. Mujuru and her camp were so determined to grab power that they even approached witch doctors and prophets to achieve their goal.

President Mugabe said it was therefore not surprising that Mrs. Mujuru and secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa were not present at Wednesday’s meeting as they have, in his own words “faded away”.

Zanu PF youths backing a faction allegedly led by Justice Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa, now heir apparent following Mrs. Mujuru’s humiliation by her own colleagues, had threatened to “deal” with Mrs. Mujuru if she set foot at the congress venue.

Mr. Mugabe said people were free to contest for power in the party but organizing illegal ways of taking power would not be tolerated.

He accused Mrs. Mujuru of working with the Americans and Europeans to remove him from office, adding she had been promised billions would be poured in to help revive the country’s tanking economy.

Mrs. Mujuru, Mutasa and most of their allies barred from contesting Central Committee seats, did not turn up for the crucial meeting.

Mrs. Mujuru also skipped Tuesday’s Politburo meeting. There were many empty chairs in the auditorium Wednesday as the party met to finalize changes to the constitution that will see Mr. Mugabe assuming power and to pick his deputies, reduce the number of people in the Polibuto and related issues.

Mr. Mugabe will officially open the congress Thursday.

The president said the congress would give direction and correct irregularities in the party’s polices. The road to the 2014 Zanu PF congress has been littered with a lot of irregularities with the sacking of Mr. Mugabe’s perceived enemies not following the party’s constitution.

Analysts have queried how a party that fails to observe its own internal democracy can respect and run the country democratically at national level.

Meanwhile, security was tight around the Zanu PF headquarters and the congress venue with many soldiers and police officers in patrol as delegates from all over the country continued to arrive for the congress.