EXPELLED Zanu PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo yesterday said he was still a Zanu PF member and supported a recent statement made by former Zanu PF secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa calling for the nullification of the party’s December congress resolutions.
Gumbo was initially suspended for five years, but later fired from Zanu PF altogether a few days before the party’s congress last month over charges of conniving with former Vice-President Joice Mujuru to topple President Robert Mugabe.
The Zanu PF purge also claimed the scalps of Mujuru, 16 ministers and all 10 provincial leaders linked to the alleged plot.
Gumbo said he and several other vilified party officials purged for their perceived association with Mujuru were still operating and fighting for internal democracy from within Zanu PF.
In an interview with NewsDay yesterday, Gumbo said it was sad that Zanu PF had taken an undemocratic route, but maintained that he and other vilified members of the party would fight to ensure Zanu PF sticks to its founding principles.
“We want to revert to collective leadership. We have concentrated power in one person and we want to address that. We are operating within Zanu PF to find ways of addressing these issues,” he added.
“We have argued and said we want to keep the original Zanu PF and we agree with Cde Mutasa on that one. The party has departed from the principles and values of Zanu PF so we are saying let’s return to the values of the party that brought democracy and one-man/one-vote,” he added.
He said Zanu PF made a mistake of concentrating power in President Robert Mugabe in the last three decades and there was need to correct the anomaly.
Gumbo’s remarks come at a time some retired army officers and war veterans, who have also been victims of the Zanu PF purge, were reportedly burning the midnight oil in various provinces plotting to “rescue” the party from “mafikizolos” [upstart newcomers] who have “hijacked the revolutionary party”.
More top government and party officials are expected to be shown the exit when Mugabe comes back from his annual leave this week.
Mutasa’s statement has reportedly caused unease among Zanu PF members amid fears it could trigger a split in the ruling party.
However, some party hardliners, who include
Manicaland Provincial Affairs minister Mandi Chimene and Information minister Jonathan Moyo, have dismissed Mutasa’s statements as inconsequential and a sign of desperation.
Political analyst Ibbo Mandaza said Mutasa’s statement was likely to shake the corridors of power in Zanu PF as it was a direct challenge to both Mugabe and the congress outcome.
“They are saying the congress was null and void and that the status quo of pre-congress should remain. What happened before congress was the illegal dismantling of elected committees and irregular amendments to the [party] constitution,” Mandaza said.
He described Mutasa’s statement as “strong, well-written and obviously prepared by very qualified lawyers”.
Impeccable Zanu PF insiders yesterday said Mutasa’s statement came as a result of a series of meetings by party cadres who felt Zanu PF had been hijacked by those who did not subscribe to the party’s ideology.
“I can tell you that this statement did not just come. It was as a result of meetings held by comrades [liberation struggle stalwarts]. Comrades are not happy and if you look at the leadership now, I don’t think it is what Mugabe wanted. Top posts have people like [Saviour] Kasukuwere [commissar] and [Ignatius] Chombo [secretary for administration] and it threatens the party’s revolutionary values. It’s now in the hands of mafikizolos,” the source said.
“Oppah (Muchinguri), a war veteran, is number 10 in the party hierarchy while Grace has a powerful post. Sydney Sekeramayi, another senior member in the party, is last in the party hierarchy and you wonder what’s going on now.
“Comrades are not happy with the current situation in the party and are ready to fight and correct all the wrongs. I can tell you that in the court application, affidavits will be attached to show how people were tortured ahead of congress in provinces by soldiers from the Presidential Guard,” the source said.
Mujuru, who prior to her ouster appeared a strong contender to succeed Mugabe, has now extended an olive branch to former party gurus, among them Mavambo/Kusile/Dawn leader Simba Makoni and Zapu leader Dumiso Dabengwa, to form a grand coalition to fight Mugabe.