PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe’s advanced age, the unresolved succession issue and the meteoric rise of First Lady Grace have been cited as major factors rocking the Zanu PF boat and causing it to remain unstable.
BY MOSES MATENGA / EVERSON MUSHAVA
This was alleged by the party’s expelled former secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa and ex-spokesperson Rugare Gumbo in their court challenge of the party’s elective congress held last December.
Mutasa and Gumbo on Tuesday filed a High Court application seeking nullification of the congress resolutions and in their court papers, the beleaguered former party stalwarts cited Zanu PF, Mugabe and national spokesperson Simon Khaya Moyo as respondents.
The two described Grace’s decision to fight on the side of Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s faction as a “serious source of conflict” as
party leaders only learnt of unconstitutional decisions being aired on television without the knowledge of relevant party organs.
Mugabe, who turned 91 last month, has been at the helm since the country’s independence in 1980.
“With the second respondent (Mugabe) advancing in age, the competition and the battle to succeed him continued arresting and affecting our party,” Mutasa said in the affidavit.
“In the run-up to the 2014 presidential election, it was clear that the mood in the party and the general membership was for a decisive victory of the (fired) Vice-President Joice Mujuru.”
Gumbo and Mutasa, in their founding affidavits, revealed the drama that used to take place in the stormy politburo meetings with the Mujuru and Mnangagwa camps fighting to outdo each other.
In his founding affidavit where he states that he was the legitimate secretary for administration in the party, Mutasa described attempts to expel him as “illegal and unlawful”.
Mutasa said attacks on himself and Mujuru were in violation of their rights to human dignity and described the rallies held by Grace where she publicly denounced Mujuru as “corrosive and poisoned”.
“Mrs Mugabe unleashed hatred, disrespect, malice, slander and defamation which in Zanu PF had never been experienced even from our opponents in opposition politics. There was no limit, no elasticity and no boundaries with regard to the verbiage and diatribe that came from the First Lady,” Mutasa said.
He added that Grace’s actions forced some party members to submit into acting illegally and unconstitutionally.
Gumbo said: “The congress proper was held in an atmosphere of threats, intimidation and assaults of some delegates.
“The entry of Amai Grace Mugabe into the political scene became a serious source of conflict. Most politburo members got to know about her interest in politics when it was announced on TV that Cde Oppah Muchinguri had handed over the leadership of the Women’s League to Amai Grace Mugabe at the Mazowe meeting.”
He said Muchinguri’s relinquishing of the top post was done without consultation with other members of the Women’s League.
“During her tour of the provinces, Amai Mugabe left a trail of destruction. She tore (into) the Vice-President (Mujuru) using crude and foul language. Her tour on a helicopter and the publicity given was unprecedented and was clear indication that she had the blessings of her husband.”
The two also said that their application took longer since most of the lawyers in the country were hesitant to take it up after being threatened by State security agents.
Gumbo said he told Mugabe that the people who really wanted to push him out were the “Gang of Four” comprising Jonathan Moyo, Saviour Kasukuwere, Muchinguri and Patrick Zhuwao.
Meanwhile, Zanu PF political commissar Kasukuwere yesterday said the party would this weekend despatch teams led by politburo members to carry out grassroots structure audits throughout the country.
The restructuring exercise comes at a time Zanu PF structures have virtually collapsed due to the ongoing purge of party members perceived to be linked to Mujuru who was fired from party and government posts last year on allegations of plotting to kill Mugabe.
Kasukuwere told journalists in Harare yesterday that he had already briefed provincial chairpersons about the planned deployment of top party officials to the grassroots levels.
“By April, we will have completed the task. We are doing this so that out party has solid structures,” Kasukuwere said.
He said Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa would lead the Bulawayo province team, Obert Mpofu (Harare), Sydney Sekeramayi (Manicaland), Edna Madzongwe (Mashonaland East), Josaya Hungwe (Mashonaland Central), Jorum Gumbo (Masvingo), Jonathan Moyo (Matabeleland South), Simon Khaya Moyo (Matabeleland North), while Midlands would be led by Eunice Sandi-Moyo.
He said Zanu PF was confident of retaining the Mt Darwin West and Zibagwe-Chirumanzu seats in by-elections slated for March 27, adding that they would also reclaim the Hwedza North, Headlands and Hurungwe West seats.