IN A bid to contain simmering tensions within its ranks, Zanu PF yesterday booted out its former youth league commissar, Godfrey Tsenengamu, pictured, for savaging the party’s leadership, the Daily News reports.
This comes as factionalism — which almost completely destroyed the party during the last days in power of the late former president Robert Mugabe — is once again threatening its hegemony.
It also comes at a time that Zimbabwe is in the grip of a mega economic crisis, which has stirred restlessness and anger among ordinary citizens.
Meeting in Harare yesterday — a day after Tsenengamu had savaged President Emmerson Mnangagwa for allegedly “reneging” on his promises before he ascended to power — the Zanu PF politburo descended heavily on the former youth league national political commissar.
“A unanimous resolution was passed today by the politburo … that the former youth secretary for commissariat Godfrey Tsenengamu be expelled with immediate effect, due to his intransigence and continued disparaging of senior party members,” party secretary for administration, Obert Mpofu, told the media after the meeting.
Before the meeting went into its closed-door session, Mnangagwa gave a hint of what lay in store for Tsenengamu when he warned Zanu PF officials against indiscipline.
“Comrades, the constitution of the party outlines the duties of all members … I urge us to constantly read and adhere to those provisions.
“We do not expect leaders to put the party into disrepute. Let us exercise great discipline in dealing with the media and always seek to build and not tear down our party and its leadership.
“We must be cautious when making comments in opposition papers as their editorial policies seldom advance the interest of the party,” Mnangagwa said.
“Let us therefore shame our detractors who thrive on any mistakes we make or disunity we display.
“It is, however, greatly disheartening that the voice of the party and government remains inaudible when it comes to defending party and government policies and programmes,” he added.
Tsenengamu himself later told the Daily News that he accepted his fate, but would not be deterred in his fight against corruption.
“No hard feelings. I accept the decision that has been made by the party.
“I have no reason to contest that decision because the leadership, in its wisdom, saw it fit to expel me … in order to strengthen the party and solve the economic problems troubling our people.
“The way forward is that I am going to continue with my fight against corruption.
“I will make sure that the authorities bring national resources that are being exploited to help the generality of Zimbabweans,” Tsenengamu said.
Asked if Mnangagwa was following Mugabe’s footsteps in dealing with him mercilessly, Tsenengamu said: “I don’t want to sound bitter about their decision, but history is repeating itself”.
Until yesterday, Tsenengamu had been on suspension, together with former youth league secretary Pupurai Togarepi and his deputy Lewis Matutu, after the trio accused prominent businesspeople with links to the party of corruption.
Although Togarepi did not take part in the infamous press conference that caused the ensuing ruckus, he also paid the price for allegedly failing to rein-in Tsenengamu and Matutu.
And while Matutu appeared to have heeded the party’s directive to go for ideological re-orientation, Tsenengamu had been defiant — raising temperatures this week when he accused Mnangagwa of mimicking Mugabe’s ways.
Speaking to the Daily News exclusively on Tuesday, Tsenengamu — who was already facing expulsion from Zanu PF after his home province of Mashonaland East called for his ouster — threw barbs at Mnangagwa for having allegedly failed to “live up to his promises”.
“I was looking at what the president wrote in November 2017 after he had been expelled. He spoke against party capture, vindictiveness … about ideas of making Zimbabwe great again … and against corruption.
“Where has he gone wrong? Maybe it is premature to judge him because he has been in power for a short period of time.
“But I am worried because he has not delivered on his vision. I am hoping that he will deliver,” Tsenengamu said.
He also said that his recent suspension from Zanu PF, as well as that of Matutu, was also contrary to the promises Mnangagwa had made in his 2017 speech while he was in short-lived exile in South Africa, after fleeing from Mugabe and his goons.
“In 2017, we said expulsions were wrong and this is exactly what they (Zanu PF and the ‘new dispensation’) are doing.
“I have been suspended for a year without a hearing and now they are threatening to expel me, again with no reason.
“If you look at the letter that was written by the president when he was in exile, he spoke against corruption and blasted the former president for pursuing his family interests,” Tsenengamu added.
In November 2017, following his dramatic sacking from both the government and Zanu PF, Mnangagwa fled to Pretoria where he stunningly hit back at Mugabe by declaring that he would come back in two weeks to take over both the reins of the country and the ruling party.
“I remain firm and resolute against those who plunder public funds and are used by foreign countries to destabilise the party.
“These same people (ostensibly ‘criminals’ around Mugabe) are brazenly protected in public by the First Lady, thereby making a mockery of our public institutions.
“I stand prepared, once again, to pay the ultimate price in defence of Zimbabwe. I am not afraid of anyone or worried about my political future under the current ‘party capture’ that is being tolerated and condoned by the First Family,” Mnangagwa let rip then.
“I implore all genuine members of Zanu PF to reject this ‘party capture’ by a few individuals … We must reject this insane and ‘idiotic’ habit of expelling and suspending members of the party merely because we differ in opinion or have brighter and more progressive ideas of improving the lives of our people.
“Let us bury our differences and rebuild a new and prosperous Zimbabwe, a country that is tolerant to divergent views … respects opinions of others … does not isolate itself from the rest of the world because of one stubborn individual who believes he is entitled to rule this country until death,” he said further then.
“We want a country that gives every citizen the opportunity to prosper … takes care of their families, a country that encourages Zimbabweans to invest in their economy and contribute to the development of infrastructure for future generations.
“This is part of my vision for a rejuvenated Zimbabwe and particularly Zanu PF and as I leave this post for now I encourage all loyal members … to remain in the party to register to vote as we will very soon control the levers of power in our beautiful party and country,” Mnangagwa added.
The 77-year-old Zanu PF leader was subsequently feted like a king when he replaced Mugabe, following a stunning military coup which was widely celebrated by Zimbabweans, who had had enough of Mugabe’s long and disastrous rule.
However, the worsening economic and political crises consuming the country have raised serious questions about him and his under pressure government’s ability to turn things around.
Meanwhile, Mnangagwa says he has restricted himself from travelling outside Africa in fear of the lethal Coronavirus.
He told journalists before yesterday’s politburo meeting that he expected fellow Zimbabweans to follow his example.
“I have restricted myself from travelling outside the continent and I also banned government officials from travelling outside the continent amid the outbreak of Coronavirus.
“I am expecting Zimbabweans to follow suit,” Mnangagwa said.
and Vasco Chaya