HARARE – Zanu PF chairperson for Mashonaland East Ray Kaukonde has denied accusations that he is blocking attempts by independent legislator Jonathan Samukange to re-join Zanu PF structures in the province.
The Mudzi South legislator went against the party after he contested in the July 31 elections as an independent candidate and trounced the party’s choice, Eric Navaya.
The lawyer-cum-politician who is now seeking readmission into the party, claims his efforts are being frustrated by Kaukonde whom he alleges has been misleading the party presidium.
“I did not know him as one of our MPs. I did not expel him from the party as I have no power to do so. I don’t run the party alone in the province, as I work together with other party officials. The best person you can speak to about Samukange’s case is Rugare Gumbo, Didymus Mutasa, and Simon Khaya Moyo who are my seniors in the party,” Kaukonde said in an interview with the Daily News last week.
He added that; “We know that Samukange is an independent candidate who stood in July elections as an independent, he is now looking for a political home, and wants to be associated with our party.”
Kaukonde said the new constitution did not allow Members of Parliament to cross the floor.
“I know him as an independent and he does not attend our provincial meetings, and I blame the press for trying to give him political relevance he does not deserve, “said Kaukonde.
But Samukange remains defiant: “I am Zanu PF at heart and no-one is going to take that away from me. I have not received any expulsion letter from Zanu PF,” said Samukange.
He said he was ready to participate in the portfolio committees as a de facto Zanu PF member.
But party spokesperson Rugare Gumbo said Samukange was not a member of Zanu PF.
“He is not one of us because he did not meet the criteria set by the national elections directorate for aspiring candidates for primary elections. The election directorate notified him that he was not going to represent the party as its candidate and he obliged and contested as an independent."
“Samukange however, knows the party procedure when one wants to join the revolutionary party and he must just follow those,” Gumbo told the Daily News.