Mujuru outwits Mnangagwa
HARARE – President Robert Mugabe’s loyalist and Vice President Joice Mujuru is walking with a spring as her faction is on a roll, cleansing provinces ahead of elections and positioning itself for an eventual takeover of Zanu PF.
Mujuru, who is reportedly engaged in a fierce battle to succeed Mugabe with bitter rival Defence minister Emmerson Mnangagwa, has her interests protected by the party’s secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa and national chairperson Simon Khaya-Moyo.
The two strongmen are leading a party restructuring exercise ahead of elections.
The former guerrilla movement is on fire with factional fights spreading across the country’s 10 provinces including the restive Masvingo province, where knives are drawn out for the incumbent chairperson Lovemore Matuke — reported to be a key member of the Mnangagwa faction.
Already the former guerrilla movement has been forced to reform its Manicaland and Bulawayo provinces as factional wars escalate ahead of an election which could be the 89-year-old Mugabe’s last due to advanced age.
Ousted Manicaland chairperson Mike Madiro — also fingered in the infamous Tsholotsho declaration of 2004 which sought to block the elevation of Mujuru to the vice presidency — was last month booted out for allegedly stealing Mugabe’s birthday party beasts and had been replaced by Dorothy Mabika.
Mabika has also been suspended.
In Bulawayo, Callistus Ndlovu has replaced Killian Sibanda as the Bulawayo Zanu PF provincial chairperson.
Both in Bulawayo and Manicaland province, Mujuru has emerged triumphant as individuals loyal to her faction are in the saddle.
The case is no different in Masvingo province.
In a letter seen by the Daily News, Zanu PF Masvingo political commissar Trainos Huruva has invited the party’s national chairperson — who heads a crack team formed by the politburo to “unite” the party ahead of polls — to visit the province on May 10.
“I am writing to confirm that Masvingo province is ready to receive you this Friday 10th of May 2013,” Huruva’s letter says.
“All arrangements are lined up in respect of the meeting. As the political commissar for the province, I strongly recommend that you come and lay the groundwork for an immediate change in leadership in the Masvingo Zanu PF provincial executive in line with the agreed roadmap.
“Mr Matuke, the current chairman of the province is resisting to co-operate with the VP’s views on the province’s new direction.”
Matuke yesterday said he was unaware of a plot to oust him, even though he confirmed that he was aware Khaya-Moyo was due in Masvingo province.
“Yes, they are coming but I don’t know their aim, however, they have been to other provinces,” he said.
Asked whether he knew his head was on the guillotine ostensibly because of failed leadership, Matuke retorted, “I am not aware of that, maybe it is his (Huruva) opinion.
“As far as I know, we are doing the right thing. It is just a letter from an individual and we cannot respond to that.”
Matuke is accused of having snubbed the Independence Day celebrations at Mucheke Stadium preferring to attend a low key meeting of an aspiring MP in Mashava.
The Mujuru faction, led in the province by politburo member Dzikamai Mavhaire, wants Mugabe to discipline their rivals for defying his calls for non-electioneering before primary elections dates and guidelines are set.
“In every province there could be factions but in Masvingo they are not that big. Factionalism had been suppressed but then it can arise anytime because people have their own interests,” Matuke said.
The factionalism rocking Masvingo presents a further headache to Mugabe whose party has failed to groom or anoint a successor.
Insiders say the chaotic scenes bedevilling the Masvingo, Bulawayo and Mutare provinces are replicated in all the 10 provinces, which are divided along factional lines and engaged in deadly combat.