President Robert Mugabe’s warring post-congress Zanu PF is ruthlessly moving to rid itself of all the remaining perceived supporters of former Vice President Joice Mujuru from within its ranks, including dozens of sitting MPs.
Well-placed Zanu PF sources told the Daily News yesterday that the move appeared to be a desperate attempt by party bigwigs to end the former liberation movement’s seemingly-unstoppable factional and succession wars, as well as derail the plans of Mujuru’s People First project.
“For quite some time now, the party has been trying to persuade the concerned legislators to reconsider their positions and stay within the family.
“However, after many of the MPs indicated that they were determined to jump ship en masse and join Mai Mujuru’s People First movement, the party now feels that its hands are tied and that it must wield the axe and purge all of them.
“There is also a belief that by taking the action and moving this way first, rather than wait for the MPs to resign, Zanu PF will be taking the wind out of People First’s sails,” one of the insiders said.
In Mashonaland Central for example, the party has just recalled from Parliament its MP for Guruve South, Chriswell Mutematsaka, on allegations that he is flirting with Mujuru.
Mutematsaka confirmed the development to the Daily News yesterday saying he had received a letter dated January 20, 2015 from Speaker of the National Assembly Jacob Mudenda, informing him that he no longer represented Guruve South in the august House.
As a result, Mutematsaka announced that he had now joined Mujuru “after being forced out” of the ruling party.
“You cannot force yourself to belong where you are not wanted. They have forced me to join Mujuru and I must say I have gladly done that.
“What is curious though is the fact that while the party has already notified Parliament, they never wrote to me. They also did not subject me to either a provincial or national disciplinary committee hearing as required by the party’s constitution.
“They just fired me summarily, but I am not complaining about that to be honest as I have a happy new home to go to. They thought that they could decide on behalf of the people of Guruve, but it is actually them who are losing.
“The people in my constituency know what they want and who they want to represent them and that makes me sleep easy,” Mutematsaka added.
The Daily News is also reliably informed that four more Mujuru MPs from Mashonaland East will be booted out next week after the party’s national disciplinary committee recommended their expulsion for allegedly mobilising support for Mujuru.
The MPs under the gun there are said to be Uzumba legislator Simbaneuta Mudarikwa, Washington Musvaire (Maramba Pfungwe) Felix Mhona (Chikomba Central) and Murewa North’s Tendayi Makunde — all of whom are currently suspended from the provincial co-ordinating committee.
“We were told at an inter-district meeting addressed last weekend by the provincial leadership that included (Joel) Matiza (provincial chairperson) that Mhona was no longer one of us as he had joined People First.
“We were not aware of that because we had been working well with him. Many members were clearly worried about the development and vowed to go with their MP,” a youth league official who attended the meeting said.
People First spokesperson Rugare Gumbo yesterday warmly welcomed Mutematsaka’s coming on board, saying the party expected more post-congress Zanu PF legislators to join their ranks.
“We know they are coming because several others have indicated their willingness to join us. We call upon all of them to make their decision now because the party is almost ready and our congress will be coming soon. No one should say they have been left out when the train departs,” Gumbo said.
Following reports that Mujuru may join forces with opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, Zanu PF has been scurrying around the country preaching the gospel of tolerance within its ranks — a move that was said to be intended to ward off the looming challenge by People First.
But Mutematsaka said many MPs were aware that this was “all fake love meant to calm them while the party executes its plan to sink us one by one”.
“In fact, I saw it coming a long time ago because the party has already held primary elections for my constituency that were won by Patrick Dutiro at the beginning of this month,” he said.