The three ZANU-PF provincial chairmen who were suspended in February this year for alleged misconduct are likely to bounce back after they were cleared by the National Disciplinary Committee (NDC).
Joel Biggie Matiza (Mashonaland East), Ezra Chadzamira (Masvingo) and Kizito Chivamba (Midlands) were suspended on February 14, 2016 for reportedly blocking party members from travelling to Harare to welcome President Robert Mugabe who was returning home from his annual leave in the Middle East.
They, however, disputed the allegations.
The suspensions caused uproar as some party members felt they were driven by factional interests.
Matiza, Chadzamira and Chivamba are linked to a ZANU-PF faction known as Team Lacoste, which is working around the clock to promote Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s perceived presidential ambitions.
ZANU-PF national political commissar, Saviour Kasukuwere, who instigated their suspension, is believed as one of the members of an opposing group called Generation 40 or G40, which is fighting to derail Mnangagwa’s ambitions, real or imagined.
The Financial Gazette understands that the NDC exonerated the trio two weeks ago after finding no merit in their suspension.
Sources familiar with the case said the NDC, chaired by ZANU-PF secretary for legal affairs, Patrick Chinamasa, met on November 25 at the party’s national headquarters in Harare to consider the trio’s cases and absolved them of any wrongdoing.
The meeting was convened after the NDC was ordered to conclude the cases before the upcoming ZANU-PF annual people’s conference to be held in Masvingo next week.
“The Politburo instructed the NDC to pragmatically conclude the inquiries and that is what has happened,” said a Politburo member who declined to be named.
“This means the NDC will now table its recommendations to the Politburo at its next meeting and thereafter they will be free to return to their positions if the Politburo endorses those recommendations,” added the source.
The Politburo will, as has been the tradition, kick-start the conference on Tuesday to be followed by the Central Committee meeting the following day before official proceedings in Masvingo commence on Wednesday evening. Kasukuwere could neither deny nor confirm the developments, electing to refer questions to Chinamasa.
“You need to talk to comrade Chinamasa who chairs the National Disciplinary Committee. I am not the one who comments on those issues,” he said
Chinamasa was not answering calls to his mobile numbers over the week.
Jorum Gumbo said he was continuing as interim Midlands chairman until he gets communication from “relevant authorities”.
“I think if that matter has been concluded, it will be communicated to us through the normal channels. As of now, I am continuing as interim chair,” he said.
Matiza, Chivamba and Chadzamira also said they were yet to be informed of any new developments.
Should they return to their elected positions, they are unlikely to get a warm welcome given that their rivals were already settling in.
Following their suspension, Kasukuwere handpicked Labour and Social Welfare deputy minister, Tapuwa Matangaidze, little-known Bernard Makokove and Amasa Nenjana to lead Midlands, Mashonaland East and Masvingo, respectively.
While there has largely been no major problems in the other two provinces, Matangaidze found it virtually impossible to operate in the Midlands after failing to get cooperation from structures.
This forced Kasukuwere to rescind the appointment and appoint Gumbo in an acting capacity until Chivamba’s case was concluded.
ZANU-PF members are currently experiencing an uneasy co-existence in all structures, but the major fights are taking place in the provinces.
There is also likely to be drama in the hosting province of Masvingo whose executive is currently dominated by perceived G40 members.
The province has previously shown that it is capable of creating drama.
In February, during the commemoration of the 21st February Movement, the province lined up Chadzamira to give welcome remarks as the hosting chairman despite him having been suspended only two weeks earlier.
However, when the time came for the provincial chairman to give his welcome remarks, Nenjana sauntered to the podium and spoke to a largely poker-faced crowd