UNDER-FIRE Zanu PF political commissar Saviour Kasukuwere has laughed off reports that the ruling party’s powerful women’s league, led by First Lady Grace Mugabe, wants him removed from his position.
BY RICHARD CHIDZA
Kasukuwere, who also serves as Local Government minister, was reportedly a subject of “intense debate and discussion” during an explosive woman’s league national executive meeting on Tuesday during which it was agreed his case should be referred to the Zanu PF politburo.
The women’s league met to discuss the expulsion of deputy politburo secretary and Bulawayo Provincial Affairs minister Eunice Sandi-Moyo and treasurer Sarah Mahoka.
Tempers boiled over within the women’s league last week after countrywide demonstrations by Zanu PF activists, who were demanding the sacking of Sandi-Moyo and Mahoka from their positions over allegations of abuse of funds meant to benefit the party, usurping and undermining Grace’s authority as well as reportedly creating parallel structures.
Kasukuwere, who is in charge of Zanu PF party structures, came under attack and exploded last week, hurling expletives at journalists after media reports that he had tried to sabotage the demonstrations.
Yesterday, Kasukuwere retorted: “Haa ibvapa iwe (Get away),” then laughed before dropping the phone.
High-level party sources said Kasukuwere had now been effectively shut out.
“He is in deep trouble. It’s looking increasingly ominous for him. There is agreement within the women’s league that Kasukuwere has become the most divisive figure within the party,” an impeccable source told NewsDay.
“Members of the women’s league who attended the meeting agreed that Sandi-Moyo and Mahoka are just pawns being used in a more sinister power game. The First Lady acknowledged that G40 exists and agreed to take up the matter with the politburo.
“But it is not going to be easy because Kasukuwere is not going to take this lying down. He feels used.”
Women’s league spokesperson Thokozile Mathuthu, after the meeting, claimed “Kasukuwere had not been discussed”.
“He is not a member of the women’s league,” she retorted when asked after the meeting.
Yesterday, Mathuthu was not answering her mobile phone, while another leading figure and secretary for security, Shuvai Mahofa, claimed: “I cannot talk. I am at a rally (in Mwenezi East).”
The G40 is a Zanu PF faction rabidly opposed to the elevation of Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa to succeed ailing President Robert Mugabe, who recently turned 93.
The group, which reportedly has within its ranks Kasukuwere and Higher and Tertiary Education minister Jonathan Moyo among its leading lights, has hitherto been pushing for Grace to take over instead.
However, according to the women’s league and other Zanu PF insiders, it has emerged that Grace has all along been a ruse.
“She (Grace) has realised these guys [Kasukuwere, Moyo and a few others] wanted to use her for their personal benefit and all hell has broken loose,” NewsDay heard.
Moyo also reportedly met Mugabe last Friday (March 24) in a last-ditch effort to “intercede” on Sandi-Moyo’s behalf to no avail.
“They met at around 4pm and the President told Moyo to stay out of women’s issues. Moyo had tried to raise the tribal card, indicating Sandi-Moyo’s removal might destabilise the Matabeleland region and cost Zanu PF. It did not work,” another source said.
After the meeting of the top 50 members of the women’s league at which a formal petition against Mahoka, the outspoken Hurungwe East MP, and Sandi-Moyo was presented to Grace, some activists openly declared Kasukuwere would now be their next target.
“We had been under bondage for a long time now. We have been freed. We have dealt with Mahoka and Sandi, now we are left with Kasukuwere,” an unidentified women’s league executive member was heard shouting.
Insiders told NewsDay the Kasukuwere matter was intensely discussed during the meeting.
“There are fears that he may fail to rally the party ahead of the election in 2018, which could cost the President dearly. Zanu PF needs a well-grounded commissar who understands the party’s ideology,” insiders claimed.
Repeated efforts by NewsDay to get Kasukuwere to comment were fruitless, with the Local Government minister constantly dropping calls.
Along with Sandi-Moyo, Mahoka and others, Kasukuwere was instrumental in the First Lady’s rise to the top echelons of the former guerilla movement from an unknown political quantity in 2014.
Most of those now identified with the G40 group were also used as blunt instruments in the brutal purges that rocked Zanu PF in 2014, leading to the unceremonious removal from power of then Vice-President Joice Mujuru, along with a host of other struggle stalwarts like Rugare Gumbo and Didymus Mutasa, who have since joined opposition politics.
Kasukuwere has also clashed with veterans of the liberation struggle, at one time describing them as “drunkards”.
The former fighters have also argued that the youthful politician was unfit to be teaching Zanu PF cadres, some of whom fought in the bush war that brought independence, about party processes, ideology and systems.