By Mugove Tafirenyika
President Robert Mugabe has apparently ordered all Zanu PF structures to stop the current push to give the bullet to the party’s under-fire national political commissar, Saviour Kasukuwere, and his brother Dickson Mafios — who is the party’s chairperson in Mashonaland Central.
Well-placed Zanu PF sources told the Daily News on Sunday yesterday that Mugabe was concerned about both the impact of the bid to oust Kasukuwere from his powerful position on the troubled ruling party — particularly with the watershed 2018 elections around the corner — as well as the inability or unwillingness of those at the forefront of the push to follow due process.
Until now, Kasukuwere and Mafios’ political careers had hung by a thread after their party enemies hit them with a slew of damaging charges, including claims that they were plotting to topple Mugabe from power and were fanning factionalism in the warring former liberation movement.
This saw several anti-Kasukuwere demonstrations — which are kisses of death in the faction-riddled ruling party — being mounted in Mashonaland Central, Midlands and Masvingo, amid swirling speculation that Mugabe wanted the Local Government minister out.
But in a surprise turn of events yesterday, Zanu PF’s deputy chairperson for Mashonaland Central Kazembe Kazembe — who has been opposing Kasukuwere — confirmed to the Daily News on Sunday that his camp was abandoning its anti-Kasukuwere push after Mugabe, through Provincial Affairs minister Martin Dinha, directed them to stop their mission to pave way for “due process”.
“We had addressed inter-district meetings in Bindura on Thursday and Shamva on Friday when we got the message from the governor (Dinha) that the president had said we must stop … and we have since complied with this directive unconditionally,” Kazembe said.
“We were scheduled to address another meeting in Mazoe today (yesterday), but like I said, we are law-abiding cadres and we respect orders from the party president.
“We have no option but to inform district chairpersons that we have cancelled the programme in line with the directive from the top,” he added.
Mugabe’s order also comes as there are whispers that Kasukuwere’s party foes are pushing for Zanu PF’s national disciplinary committee to “seal his fate” (fire him) as soon as possible and allegedly without referring his case to the party’s politburo.
Mugabe also recently ordered Zanu PF members to desist from engaging in demonstrations against one another as the anti-Kasukuwere demonstrations raged, saying the party had internal forums and mechanisms to deal with errant cadres.
This comes as former Zanu PF Mashonaland Central youth leader, Godfrey Tsenengamu, had sensationally claimed last week that Mugabe wanted Kasukuwere out of the warring ruling party.
Speaking to the Daily News on Sunday’s sister paper, the Daily News, Tsenengamu also said Mugabe was using “the same methods” to deal with Kasukuwere that he had allegedly employed to hound his former deputy, Joice Mujuru, out of Zanu PF during the deadly purges of 2014.
Tsenengamu, who has consistently claimed that he was among the youth leaders who were used by Mugabe to orchestrate Mujuru’s downfall, said he had no doubt in his mind that Kasukuwere’s Zanu PF political career was “hanging by a thread”.
“It is clear that the president is behind Kasukuwere’s woes, and whether he (Kasukuwere) survives or not is entirely dependent on Mugabe.
“What is also very clear is that Mugabe is playing people against each other, as he has done on so many previous occasions.
“I remember very well that Mujuru faced similar charges of trying to topple the president through a coup and those are the same charges that Kasukuwere is now facing,” Tsenengamu reasoned.
The outspoken former Zanu PF leading light added that Mugabe had allegedly “perfected the art of playing the party’s factions” in his own interest.
It was also in this light, Tsenengamu said, that the nonagenarian’s recent “pleas” in which he appeared to sympathise with Kasukuwere, needed to be taken with a pinch of salt.
“During the night he (Mugabe) sends people to attack others, and during the day he extends an olive branch to the victims.
“He supplies political bullets and guns to A, so that A can shoot B. Then he goes on to supply bulletproof vests to B, so that B is protected from being shot by A. Those are his typical double standards,” Tsenengamu said.
He also claimed that he had been approached by ruling party bigwigs to participate in the recent demonstrations against Kasukuwere and Mafios.
Curiously, Tsenengamu said he had refused “to gain a measure of revenge” against Kasukuwere — whom he accuses of having engineered his expulsion from Zanu PF in 2015 — by participating in the marches.
“He who rented his powers to Tyson (Kasukuwere) must take back his power by himself. Zvekushandisana nekusvibisana kwete. Ndakaramba kuberekeswa kamwana kakafa (I don’t want to be used, and this is why I refused to participate in Kasukuwere’s battering). Never again … 2014 was enough.
“Yes, I learnt my lessons from 2014. The reality is that we were used. Suits were bought for us and for some time we were even treated like royalty as the powers-that-be coached us to smear Mujuru’s name.
“When people who were organising these demonstrations (against Kasukuwere) approached me, I said no … because I felt that I would be used again by Mugabe in the same way he used us in 2014,” Tsenengamu said.
Meanwhile, Tsenengamu has also warned that the turmoil in the women’s league could also claim Zanu PF’s scalp in next year’s eagerly-anticipated national polls.
“People were expelled in 2004, 2014, 2015 … and now (Eunice) Sandi Moyo and Sarah Mahoka are the targets. As we go towards the 2018 elections, the current divisions are not good for the party.
“Towards the 2008 election, we had differences but not of this kind. This is too much. Do these fights have something to do with the party and people, or are there certain individuals who want to benefit from them?
“We know that after they expel Sandi and Mahoka there are others who are also going to face the chop.
“My question now is, are we being used to fight for the party or we are fighting to protect certain family interests or the interests of certain individuals?” he asked rhetorically.
Tsenengamu, who was hounded out of Zanu PF together with six other provincial youth leaders in 2015, is currently on bail after he savaged Mugabe for appearing to crush Mnangagwa’s mooted presidential ambitions during the nonagenarian’s 93rd birthday interview with the ZBC.