HARARE – As Zanu PF’s gladiatorial factional and succession wars continue to fester, party structures in President Robert Mugabe’s Zvimba home area have made sensational claims that newly-appointed secretary for administration Ignatius Chombo is among the people allegedly plotting to oust the long-ruling nonagenarian from power.
As a result, they want Mugabe to fire the Local Government minister forthwith, as they claim that Chombo is a key member of the hounded party faction allegedly led by former vice president Joice Mujuru.
The damning allegations are contained in a letter that is in possession of the Daily News, that was addressed to quarrelsome First Lady Grace Mugabe and former Zanu PF Women’s League boss Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri ahead of Zanu PF’s damp squib “elective” congress that was held in Harare in early December last year.
Although the Zvimba party members were emphatic in their claims that Chombo worked hand in glove with the decapitated Mujuru faction, no action has been taken against the controversial minister — who has since been elevated by Mugabe to the influential party position of secretary for administration.
But the public surfacing of the letter could set the cat among the pigeons, particularly given the growing talk that Zanu PF’s hardliners who worked together to decimate the Mujuru camp are now wrangling furiously among themselves, primarily for the spoils of their bloody victory.
The letter was undersigned by Zvimba District members of the party’s youth and women’s league structures, and alleged that Chombo only ditched the Mujuru team at the 11th hour after he saw that the faction would be annihilated ahead of the disputed congress.
“We are happy and were happy when we found out that Amai Dr Grace Mugabe is revealing all the culprits who are corrupt, anti-the-First Family and bhora musango (vote against Mugabe) faction.
“We believe our member of Parliament (MP) Ignatius Chombo imbwa nyoro chaiyo. Vanoruma vachifuridzira (Chombo pretends to be nice but is dangerous),” reads part of the letter.
“We salute you for taking the bull by the horns, by exposing all those who are linked to bhora musango, corruption, the assassination (sic) of our President. We are registering our support for the good work you are doing by exposing all the culprits associated with bhora musango,” it added.
The Zvimba supporters who want Chombo out went on to list other former top heavyweights — most of whom have since been purged from the ruling party — as co-conspirators in the anti-Mugabe plot.
“We believe that honourable Ignatius Chombo is very much linked with corruption, with those planning to assassinate the President and bhora musango teams,” their letter added.
Efforts to contact Chombo yesterday to solicit his comment were not successful, while Muchinguri’s phone was picked up by a person who only identified herself as her secretary and who promised to call back, but to no avail.
Similar efforts to talk to party spokesperson Simon Khaya Moyo did not bear fruit.
Among the allegations that they made, the Zvimba party structures also claimed that Chombo had invited Mujuru to a rally in the constituency in the run-up to the country’s disputed 2013 elections.
“During the 2013 campaigns he (Chombo) had two rallies in our constituency which he invited Joice Mujuru, Simon Khaya Moyo, Walter Chidakwa, Dzikamai Mavhaire.
“How can he be separated or distanced from the (ex) VP Mujuru faction?
“As if this was not enough, he invited the same at Yomba Mafuta and Simon Khaya Moyo was the guest speaker,” their letter went on.
According to the aggrieved party supporters, former war veterans leader Jabulani Sibanda also actively campaigned for Chombo in the run-up to the disputed elections.
“Some of our comrades in Zvimba namely Sigudu, Makusha and Mai Mutyavaviri from Katawa District, were beaten during the 2013 campaign because they were found putting on regalia with the President on it (sic), the news got into (Chombo’s) ears but he never sympathised with them.
“This is anti-First Family at its best.
“Constitutionally, we voted him out during the primary 2013 elections, but because of his association with Zanu PF chairperson Simon Khaya Moyo and political commissar Webster Shamu, he was declared the winner,” claims the letter.
“We are women and youth league members of Zvimba District and would like to seek clarification on how our MP is not linked (ostensibly to Mujuru). We are against those teams 100 percent hence we need him also cleared if he is clean.
“Of late, after the exposure of these corrupt (sic), the bhora musango and the assassins, Hon. Ignatius Chombo has crossed the floor unnoticed,” It added.
Chombo is viewed as a controversial Zanu PF heavyweight who rose from humble beginnings in the 1990s to become one of the wealthiest and biggest land owners in the country, after being appointed to the post of minister of Local Government.
Court records during his high profile divorce case showed that Chombo owns land and houses in many towns of Zimbabwe.
Analysts said yesterday that the letter could open a can of worms and shake Zanu PF to its core as any allegation that any of the party’s members are anti-Mugabe and Grace is career limiting.