PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe on Wednesday reportedly named and shamed some politburo members accusing them of contributing to fissures in the party, as crises rock Zanu PF at a time opposition parties have been emboldened by former Vice-President Joice Mujuru’s entry into opposition politics.
Mugabe’s fury comes as war veterans and Zanu PF youths have threatened to storm the party headquarters today to demonstrate against national commissar Saviour Kasukuwere accusing him of being divisive.
Fliers and messages circulating on social media claim a previously unknown group going by the name Revolutionary Guards is behind the planned protest against Kasukuwere’s “unbridled ambition for high office, as well as causing confusion and unnecessary fights in the ruling party”.
The group plans to present a petition to Mugabe tomorrow, as they demand Kasukuwere’s immediate ouster.
The party’s commissar intimated he was aware of the petition and directed questions to his politburo colleague and war veterans’ chairman Chris Mutsvangwa.
“Call those mentioned, including (War Veterans’ minister) Mutsvangwa and youths to confirm,” he quipped.
The war veterans were due to hold a meeting yesterday, where the modalities of the petition against Kasukuwere were to be finalised.
On the other hand, party insiders said Mugabe was livid at reports that Environment minister Oppah Muchinguri was fuelling divisions in Manicaland province and ordered that she be summoned to discuss the issue.
The sources said Mugabe blew the roof off after the party’s deputy youth secretary Kudzai Chipanga presented a report narrating Muchinguri’s alleged shenanigans including disregard of party hierarchy.
In his report, Chipanga accused Muchinguri of authoring all the problems in the province by refusing to work with provincial chairman Samuel Undenge and Provincial Affairs minister Mandi Chimene.
Chipanga declined to comment yesterday.
Mugabe is reported to have said he had heard Muchinguri was interfering in Chimene’s work and conducting clandestine party meetings at her home.
Muchinguri is the party’s secretary for transport. She is believed to be aligned to a Zanu PF faction reportedly led by Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Mutsvangwa, who is also said to be aligned to the Mnangagwa faction, reportedly tried to defend Muchinguri, but Mugabe would have none of it.
Mugabe then reportedly ordered the deployment of another team of senior party members to resolve the Manicaland crisis.
Mutsvangwa then drew the ire of Vice-President Phelekezela Mphoko when he said both Muchinguri and Chimene were his people because they are war veterans.
Contacted for comment, Mutsvangwa said: “Only the politburo chair can do that, President Mugabe chaired the meeting. In his absence it was VP Mnangagwa. Best if you check the veracity of that attribution with Mphoko himself.”
When asked about today’s planned demonstration, Mutsvangwa said: “Frankly, I am hearing this for the first time. Why does he (Kasukuwere) not ask me directly?”
Meanwhile, Zanu PF youths and war veterans accused Kasukuwere of being arrogant, insulting war veterans, as well using party structures to create a parallel set-up to support his undeclared bid to take over from Mugabe in the unending Zanu PF succession war.
War veterans’ secretary-general Victor Matemadanda professed ignorance over the proposed demonstration, but confirmed the freedom fighters “were angry with his (Kasukuwere) conduct”.
“As an association we have not planned any demonstration against him, but people are free and have a democratic right to hold one,” Matemadanda said.
“However, the PC (Kasukuwere) has insulted war veterans by calling us drunkards and taxi drivers. We thought he would apologise for that, but he has not and we are angry with him.” newsday