WASHINGTON DC —
Some of the top Zanu PF party officials who were suspended by the ruling party's Politburo on Thursday claim they have not been given reasons for purge taken after a marathon meeting.
Those affected include party spokesperson Rugare Gumbo, who was suspended for five years, and the expulsion of militant war veterans leader Jabulani Sibanda.
Zanu PF Central Committee member, Enock Porusingazi, who is among some of those suspended, said he is not aware of the charges that led to his suspension.
He said he was never asked to appear before a disciplinary committee before Thursday's Politburo decision.
Sibanda, said he does not know the crime that he committed. Speculation is rife that those being purged are loyalists of Vice President Joice Mujuru who, together with Justice Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa, are allegedly angling to succeed President Robert Mugabe when he eventually leaves office. Porusingazi said he belongs to none of the two factions.
Analysts say the purge has severely weakened Mrs. Mujuru’s alleged camp and her ambitions to hold on to her job and eventually replace Mr. Mugabe when he finally leaves office.
The president has been in power since Zimbabwe was granted independence from British rule in 1980.
Political analyst and programs officer of the Zimbabwe Association of Community Radio Stations, Kudzai Kwangwari, told Studio 7 that as a result of the continuing purging of her key allies, Vice President Mujuru should now raise the white flag.
Kwangwari said it was now clear that the Zanu PF congress would breed a pre-determined outcome.
But Zanu PF member, Goodson Nguni, says the suspensions and Sibanda’s expulsion have nothing to do with factionalism in the ruling party. Nguni added that the internal fissures in Zanu PF are not linked to the race to succeed President Robert Mugabe, who has not groomed a successor in his 34 years in power.
Kwangwari said the demonstrations and votes of no confidence against suspected Mujuru allies, including Sibanda’s expulsion, were choreographed to give the faction led by Mnangagwa an edge over the Mujuru camp ahead of the party’s 6th elective congress set for next month.
The road to the ruling party’s congress so far, according to Kwangwari, has been marred by undemocratic practices.
But Nguni says Zanu PF remains one family claiming Zanu PF is the most democratic political party in the country.
Zanu PF insiders say Senate president Edna Madzongwe is also angling to take over the vice presidency from Mujuru at the forthcoming congress. Madzongwe, who comes from President Mugabe’s home province, is the one who announced the First Lady’s entry into mainstream politics in Mazowe, Mashonaland Central province.
Efforts to get a comment from Madzongwe were unsuccessful.
While President Mugabe has said that all issues affecting the party would be resolved at the elective congress, without directly referring to calls for Mrs. Mujuru’s ouster, his wife, Grace, has openly attacked the vice president and called for her immediate resignation after accusing her of incompetency, corruption and selling out to the country’s so-called detractors.
For her part, Mujuru has not responded directly to the attacks but called for a moratorium on insults and urged Zanu PF members to be united, warning that the ruling party risked losing the next elections if it remains fractured.
Meanwhile, those reportedly angling for the co-vice presidency are Khaya Moyo, Retired Brigadier General Ambrose Mutinhiri, Home Affairs Minister Kembo Mohadi and former Zimbabwe ambassador to South Africa, Phekezela Mphoko. The seat fell vacant following the death of John Landa Nkomo last year.
MDC-T PARLIAMENT FUNDS
In other news, speaker of parliament Jacob Mudenda on wrote to Movement for Democratic Change formation led by Morgan Tsvangirai’s secretary general Douglas Mwonzora advising him of his decision not to accept a request by the opposition to declare 18 parliamentary seats held by the MDC Renewal vacant after former secretary general Tendai Biti led a break-away group.
Mudenda said the dispute on the real MDC-T is still in the courts and therefore his hands are tied.
Biti said instead of Tsvangirai working against the MDC Renewal Team, he should concentrate on economic issues affecting the majority of Zimbabweans.
Biti broke ranks with Tsvangirai after the opposition was defeated by Zanu PF in last year's national elections.