Category Archives: National

Chombo, Chihuri face arrest over Grace

ARNOLD Farm residents in Mazowe, who last week were granted an interdict barring demolition of their homes and eviction from the farm by the law enforcement agents, have once again approached the court seeking contempt of court charges against three top government officials.

BY CHARLES LAITON

First Lady Grace Mugabe

First Lady Grace Mugabe

The villagers want Home Affairs minister Ignatius Chombo, Commissioner-General of Police Augustine Chihuri and Lands and Rural Resettlement minister Douglas Mombeshora charged with contempt of court after authorities disregarded a court order stopping the evictions.

The urgent chamber application was filed last Sunday after the police, despite the existence of the court order, continued with the demolitions, bundled the residents into trucks and dumped them in a bushy area along the Mvurwi Road allegedly to make way for First Lady Grace Mugabe’s business expansion.

In their application, the residents said the conduct of the law enforcement agents in the unfolding events was “a sad commentary to the status of the Rule of Law in Zimbabwe”.

On Friday last week, High Court judge Justice Felistas Chatukuta ruled in the residents’ favour and ordered the police to immediately stop demolishing houses and evicting the families from the farm, but the police allegedly scoffed at the court order and continued with their actions unabated.

“The demolitions continued on the 25th of March 2017 and this time the police were forcing the villagers whose homes they had demolished to board trucks. The residents would be driven some 35-40km along the Mvurwi Road and dumped in the bush and told to find their way to where they originally came from,” the villagers, who are represented by Donsa-Nkomo and Mutangi Legal Practitioners, said in their affidavits.

“The villagers are just dumped in the open, without food, water, or shelter. Our crops and livestock are left at Arnold Farm; our children are still at the schools they were attending since 2000 when we resettled at the farm and now their education is being disrupted.”

Added one villager: “I aver that the disobedience of the court order by the respondents is wilful or reckless and also mala fide (in bad faith). There can be no worse form of contempt than to appear before this honourable court and consent to an order which respondent (police) had no intention of respecting.

“The conduct of the respondents in this case is a sad commentary to the status of the Rule of Law in Zimbabwe. As applicants, we had hoped to get relief from this honourable court, but when the orders of the court are brazenly disobeyed, as in this case, then there is no hope for us.”

In the application, the applicants were cited as Nyatsambo Katsamudanga, Innocent Dube, Rosemary Masiyiwa, Maliyana Mateo, Livingstone Musanhu, Makoore Leonard, Chenjerai Murambiza, Phanuel Chingoriwo and Arnold Farm Residents’ Association, while Mombeshora, Chihuri and Chombo were cited as respondents. The matter is yet to be heard.

The villagers argue that they had been staying at the farm over the past 17 years before the forced removal by gun-toting police and military personnel.

Mugabe is heartless: Mujuru

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe is being kept in power by “power-hungry looters”, hence Zimbabweans must take the chance to vote the 93-year-old leader out of office, former Vice-President Joice Mujuru said yesterday.

BY BLESSED MHLANGA

NPP leader Joice Mujuru

NPP leader Joice Mujuru

Mujuru, who is opposition National People’s Party (NPP) leader, said this while visiting party officials admitted at Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals’ intensive care unit after being involved in a car accident on Saturday night.

The former VP – who served under Mugabe for over 34 years before she was unceremoniously kicked out of Zanu PF and government on allegations of plotting a coup – said the decay of Zimbabwe’s health delivery system was a sign the President cared less about the plight of citizens.

“At 93, what do you expect from him? He just does not care anymore and I doubt he still understands what is expected of him in terms of providing solutions to address the economic rot which is causing this decay of social service delivery,” Mujuru said.

She also blamed Zimbabweans for allowing Mugabe to hold them “hostage”.

“Mugabe has always said if Zimbabweans tell me to go, I will go, so he is there because we have not told him to go. I believe we should tell him to go … he is being kept in office by people who have looted this country and they think the only way to escape is by keeping the old man hostage in office,” the NPP leader said.

She accused top government officials of abandoning their posts to engage in political mudslinging and the power scrap currently engulfing Zanu PF.

Mugabe frequently flies out of the country mainly to the Far East for what officials claim “routine medical check-up”.

Reports indicate Mugabe was constantly receiving treatment for an undisclosed ailment at the state-of-the-art Gleneagles medical facility in Singapore, renowned for specialist treatment, at taxpayers’ expense.

Early this month, Mugabe travelled for medical treatment leaving local health personnel on a strike, demanding better working conditions and pay.

Government this year allocated the Health and Child Care ministry a mere $281 million, with $222 million going to employment costs, leaving $55 million for infrastructure, medication and equipment.

In contrast, Mugabe’s office received $187 million with employment costs at $98 million, leaving his office with an unchecked budget of $89 million which funds mostly his travels and medical needs.

Mugabe’s expenditure is not subject to auditing and in the past few weeks he has been flying non-stop on a chartered plane with one trip to Singapore blowing over $1 million.

The former Vice-President came face-to-face with the deplorable conditions of service and health delivery after being told by accident victim and NPP Makonde chairperson, Levison Shumba, that nurses had encouraged him to seek treatment at a private hospital. “I fractured my leg in the accident and I need an operation, but nurses have told me that if I don’t get this done at a private hospital, it would take way over a month before I can be attended to,” Shumba told Mujuru.

Mujuru said Mugabe, whose sister Bridget spent no less than four years on life support at Parirenyatwa, was out of touch with reality.

“I don’t think he knows the state of this hospital, from the staff that is demoralised, the bed linen is not inspiring and service is absent, how can one have to wait for a month to be attended for multiple fractures on a leg? Does he know how things have changed since the last time he was here as a patient? I don’t think so,” the ex-VP queried.

Another NPP official and renowned surgeon, Samuel Mvurume, also admitted at Parirenyatwa, was injured in the freak accident while trying to help victims of a crash in Chinhoyi on Saturday night.

Soldiers on the rampage at MSU

A group of suspected soldiers allegedly assaulted students at Midlands State University (MSU) last Saturday evening, leaving more than three dozen seriously injured.

BY STEPHEN CHADENGA

Midlands-State-University-e1368876281142

The soldiers were reportedly on a revenge mission after a member of the Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) was beaten by a group of students following a misunderstanding over a woman at a city drinking spot in the Midlands capital of Gweru.

According to witnesses, the soldiers disembarked at the main campus from a commuter omnibus before they went on a rampage randomly assaulting students using cue sticks.

Although MSU acting director of information and public relations Mirirai Mawere, said the matter has since been reported at Senga Police Station, acting Midlands provincial police spokesperson Assistant Inspector Ethel Mukwende said she was still to receive the report.

“I am still to receive that report. In any case if I get it I would not be at liberty to comment if it involves State security agents and I can only refer you to the national police spokesperson, Senior Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba,” Mukwende said.

Efforts to get a comment from Charamba hit a brick wall as her mobile phone went unanswered.

Army spokesperson Colonel Alphios Makotore said there was no indication that the assailants were soldiers.

“There is no evidence to show that those people are soldiers. Gweru has a lot of illegal panners masquerading as army personnel just to intimidate people and as well as frighten those against whom they would have committed crimes,” Makotore said.

Zimbabwe National Students’ Union secretary-general, Makomborero Haruzivishe condemned the alleged attack.

“The Zimbabwe National Students’ Union is deeply concerned with the attack on students by 15 soldiers of the Zimbabwe National Army at Midlands State University yesterday (Saturday) evening,” Haruzivishe said in a statement.

“Thirty-seven students were viciously assaulted with 14 getting broken limps (sic) and one is feared to have had brain damage and is currently in a coma. We are more worried by the MSU authorities who have time to time failed to provide security for students on campus as this is not the first time such an attack has occurred.”

Rogue units in Zimbabwe’s military routinely engage in fist-fights with the public before organising themselves into groups on revenge missions.

‘No to Mugabe dynasty’

VETERANS of Zimbabwe’s liberation struggle will work hard in the coming month to stop President Robert Mugabe’s bid to create a political dynasty in the country, NewsDay has been told.

BY RICHARD CHIDZA

President Robert Mugabe and First Lady Grace Mugabe

President Robert Mugabe and First Lady Grace Mugabe

In an interview following the conclusion of a meeting of the former fighters organised by the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans’ Association (ZNLWVA) last week, secretary-general Victor Matemadanda was categorical that the ex-combatants would not allow Mugabe — already endorsed by Zanu PF as its presidential candidate — to win another term next year.

“The war vets will now go to give the masses the consciousness of the tasks ahead, which are to fight corruption, fight creation of a Mugabe dynasty, fight regionalism and fight dictatorship as well as all other social and economic ills,” Matemadanda told NewsDay.

While Mugabe, in his traditional birthday interview last month, claimed he remained in office because there was no one suitable to take over, ZNLWVA spokesperson Douglas Mahiya said Zimbabweans could still choose a leader even someone without liberation war credentials.

“The only way to do it is to vote and find a suitable leader even among those that did not take part in the liberation struggle. We are 14 million citizens and if we choose well among us, they should be able to serve our common interests as a people,” Mahiya said.

“It is not possible that there is no one who can lead better than those in power today. We can always find one because nobody is indispensable. Zimbabwe is greater than individuals and will be there long after we are all gone.”

ZNLWVA national chairperson Christopher Mutsvangwa also called for a change of tack with the economy virtually on its knees and the deepening political problems in the country.

“We need to reach out to [the] Diaspora … engendered by the illegal sanctions and the ham-fisted response of the clueless, vapid and vacuous G40 in their illicit control of the apex of Executive power,” he said.

In the scathing communiqué issued last July, the war veterans accused Mugabe of manipulating the ruling Zanu PF party for selfish ends, describing him as “genocidal”.

Before last week’s meeting, the ZNLWVA distributed flyers detailing their “commitments to the Zimbabwe we want”.

The former fighters committed to servant and responsive leadership, rule of law and according citizens all civil liberties “without prejudice”.

As their relationship with Mugabe and Zanu PF continues on a downward spiral, Mutsvangwa said last week’s meeting re-established the war veterans as “a people’s force”.

“It was a watershed, game-changing meeting. It recast the image of the war veteran. He [war veteran] has recovered that integrity and seriousness befitting a revolutionary hero of the Chimurenga independence war.

“It banished his image and standing, doing away with the idiosyncratic caricature of violence and mayhem. Zimbabweans are once again proud of the stellar military actors who did so much to restore the battered bias against modern African military prowess,” Mutsvangwa said.

“We presented the war veterans as the heroes of the Zimbabweans, the heroes of Africa. That is the biggest success that we got and it will marginalise the elements that are against progress particularly as epitomised by the G40 (faction of Zanu PF). The G40 is the opposite of what we want in Zimbabwe. We have demolished them and reworked the image of war veterans and removed the element of caricature.”

Mahiya admitted the demands by the war veterans might not be achieved under Mugabe’s current government, accusing some senior officials of being counter-revolutionaries.

“…the people who are holding positions today, for example, the Minister of Home Affairs [Ignatius Chombo], Higher Education [Jonathan Moyo] and Local Government [Saviour Kasukuwere], are counter-revolutionaries and would never accept our demands,” Mahiya said.

“We are clear Zimbabweans understand what we are saying and will know who to vote for. It is a small group of people with no social base. Next year’s elections will tell.”

Mugabe, who will contest next year’s election aged 94, should have retired a long time ago, argued Mahiya.

“At his age, the President was supposed to have retired and be able to write books and putting down what he has done for the country for future generations to benefit from the wisdom, if any, that he has. Those who are in the corridors of power are only interested in looting the country’s economy,” he said.

Grace holds axe over Moyo, Mahoka

FIRST Lady Grace Mugabe will make the final call on the fate of beleaguered Zanu PF women’s league deputy secretary Eunice Sandi-Moyo and treasurer Sarah Mahoka at an executive meeting to be held this week, it has been established.

BY BLESSED MHLANGA

Sarah Mahoka

Sarah Mahoka

Zanu PF women’s league members held demonstrations against the two on Thursday and Friday last week, demanding that they be expelled on allegations of undermining the First Lady as well as abusing party funds.

Sources told NewsDay yesterday that Sandi-Moyo and Mahoka’s fate could be sealed this week.

“There is likely to be a women’s league executive meeting this week, most likely on Tuesday [tomorrow], where a consolidated petition against Mahoka and Sandi-Moyo will be handed over to the First Lady for a final decision,” NewsDay heard.

While officials in the women’s league remained tight-lipped on whether indeed the meeting would be held this week, Mashonaland West acting provincial chairperson Angeline Muchemeyi confirmed a consolidated petition was now in place.

“We now have a consolidated petition which chairwomen from all provinces will present before the executive on a date that is yet to be decided. The moment we are called, we will have the petition ready and will submit it,” Muchemeyi said.

Mahoka hails from Mashonaland West and the axe has been hovering over her head since her unsolicited public humiliation of Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa two years ago during a gathering to welcome President Robert Mugabe at the end of his tenure as African Union and Sadc chairperson.

Women’s league secretary for information Thokozile Angela Mathuthu would neither deny nor confirm the Zanu PF organ would meet tomorrow.

“You heard these things from rumours and the nation cannot be run on rumours because if that happens, the country will collapse. I will have to first get into my [email] inbox in my laptop and see what has been sent to me so if you talk to me on Monday [today], I might have a response for you,” Mathuthu said.

Secretary for administration Letina Undenge also refused to comment.

“Ask the secretary for information [Mathuthu], we are trying to be professional and make sure people do their work. I am not going to talk about this because we will cause unnecessary chaos. As secretary for administration, my job is to supervise everyone and the league spokesperson must give you a comment. If she has a problem regarding details on any issue, she can consult me,” Undenge said.

Sandi-Moyo and Mahoka, hitherto some of Grace’s most trusted allies, seem to have been sacrificed in the intriguing power scrap rocking the ruling party.

Makarau buckles

Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) chairperson Justice Rita Makarau has buckled under pressure and assured opposition parties that the government will not fiddle with the procurement process for biometric voter registration (BVR) kits or the independence of her commission, NewsDay has heard.

BY BLESSED MHLANGA

Rita Makarau

Rita Makarau

In a letter to the National Electoral Reform Agenda (Nera), a grouping of 13 political parties pushing for her ouster among other electoral reforms, Makarau said government was only providing funding and would not interfere with the procurement.

“We wish to reiterate our position, as indicated to you in the meeting, that government has not taken over the procurement process of BVR kits. Government, instead of UNDP [United Nations Development Programme], is now providing the funding, while Zec becomes the procuring entity,” she said.

Parties under the Nera banner held a demonstration last week demanding that government fires Justice Makarau and allow a United Nations as well as Sadc-supervised poll. She walked out of a meeting with opposition parties demanding “respect”, claiming she had been undermined and abused.

Tempers have flared with opposition political parties accusing Zec and the Zanu PF-led government of trying to rig the election by tampering with the transparent procurement of BVR kits which was being run by the UNDP.

Justice Makarau said: “The commission wishes to assure all stakeholders that transparency shall be maintained throughout the procurement process of the BVR kits. There will be no retendering or invitation of new bidders in the process. Only those who were involved from the beginning will be considered.”

Zec did not, however, clarify whether all 14 companies that placed their bids would be included or it would stick to the seven who qualified under the UNDP vetting.

Justice Makarau also said the commission would continue to work with UNDP using their money to pay for other unfunded aspects of its operations.

“The funds which had been sourced by the UNDP for BVR kits will be channelled to other needy areas by the commission. Be rest assured that the move does not threaten Zec’s independence in any way,” she said in the letter.

MDC-T secretary-general and Nera legal adviser Douglas Mwonzora called for more pressure, adding last week’s demonstration had worked.
“It was not in vain. We shall continue keeping our eyes open to ensure that it’s not government which will seek to procure these kits. We will continue to fight,” Mwonzora said.

‘We will fight for democracy’

THE Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans’ Association leadership is basking in the after-glow of a successful meeting in Harare attended by over 1 000 members. According to the association’s leadership fronted by national chairperson Christopher Mutsvangwa, secretary-general Victor Matemadanda and spokesperson Douglas Mahiya, the meeting, held in the face of an attempt by a government scared of anyone opposed to it, was a defining moment for the ex-combatants battling to shed off their bad-boy tag. NewsDay senior reporter Richard Chidza (ND) talked to the three war veterans (MMM) after the meeting to understand their feeling and the way forward. Below are excerpts:

Richard Chidza

Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans’ Association chairperson Christopher Mutsvangwa

Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans’ Association chairperson Christopher Mutsvangwa

ND: What now after this meeting?

MMM: The war vets will now go to give the masses the consciousness of the tasks ahead, which are to fight corruption, fight creation of the [President Robert] Mugabe dynasty, fight regionalism and fight dictatorship as well as all other social and economic ills. We have also been advised by the constituents to go back to basics and have a relook at the road we have travelled since chairman Herbert Chitepo left the country to set up the revolutionary army that dislodged colonialism and the problems we have faced up to this day.

ND: Do war veterans condemn the use of violence as a tool for power retention?

MMM: War veterans fought for peace and justice and would never encourage violence. If it happened, it happened through ignorance and manipulation. War veterans have never practiced violence on the people and the atrocities against the people have been perpetrated by opportunists created by the party through various organs who have assumed the name “comrade”, but these are not necessarily ex-combatants, but rogue units unleashed to terrorise the people in our name. We condemn violence the same way we took up arms to dislodge using violence because the enemy was violent.

ND: Are war veterans against the politics of patronage and agree that if the country was being run well, they would not need to wait for handouts?

MMM: Politics of patronage has always kept those so patronised under bondage and abuse, but for people who went to war most as young as 11, it was difficult for them to realise that they are being patronised, so society should help to give awareness than to just blame.
Patronage under the Rhodesians became a national grievance and still is to this day. It drove us into exile to fight and accord the people of this country to speak out against such excesses. At our extraordinary congress last year, the war veterans agreed to amend our constitution and identify all former fighters with Zimbabwe and not a political party as long as all players in the political landscape recognise the ethos of the liberation struggle. Government was supposed to create the space and opportunities to allow war veterans and all other Zimbabweans to produce for themselves and the country. Zanu PF promised 2 million jobs in 2013, but nothing has come of it because of corruption.

ND: How do you plan to deal with the “enemies” you claim are embedded within Zanu PF structures given the association is virtually sidelined now?

MMM: During the struggle we were not members of the Rhodesian regime, but we fought and won. Together with the people of Zimbabwe we will fight to restore a democratic State in Zimbabwe. We will explain to the people what it means to vote. We will also field progressive people against Zanu PF candidates we think would have been imposed on regional and ethnic lines as happened in Norton during the by-election. They are not enemies to the extent that you can use firearms against them as suggested by Kudzi Chipanga [Zanu PF youth league leader]’s overzealousness. However, this tells you how much healing our nation needs. People should be free to associate and disassociate, but they can’t and anyone who opposes Zanu PF and especially the G40 faction is an enemy of the State. Contradictions are very necessary in a revolution, they only become dangerous when the leader drifts towards cultism and dynastic dictatorship.

ND: What does the successful hosting of the meeting against attempts to stop it by the police mean to the fight for democratic space in Zimbabwe?

MMM: It was a watershed, game-changing meeting. It recast the image of the war veteran. He [war veteran] has recovered that integrity and seriousness befitting a revolutionary hero of the Chimurenga independence war. It banished his image and standing, doing away with the idiosyncratic caricature of violence and mayhem. The Zimbabweans are once again proud of the stellar military actors who did so much to restore the battered bias against modern African military prowess. We presented the war veterans as the heroes of the Zimbabweans, the heroes of Africa. That is the biggest success that we got and it will marginalise the elements that are against progress particularly as epitomised by the G40. The G40 is the opposite of what we want in Zimbabwe. We have demolished them and reworked the image of war veterans and removed the element of caricature.

ND: Zimbabweans continue to fight for democratic space and a free and fair election expected next year. To what extent do war veterans subscribe to this?

MMM: It has been very clear to us that the Public Order and Security Act is being used to oppress the people and not only war veterans. It is an instrument being used by G40 to sustain its existence. If that instrument is properly administered, G40 will be defeated. Where there is oppression there is resistance and the more our people are oppressed, the more they will resist. We will work with our people and teach them that there is need to resist the kind of politics we are living in for them to attain the kind of democracy they aspire for.

ND: What is your message to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec)?

MMM: Zec must be non-partisan and apolitical and unless they are, it would be difficult for them to cultivate the trust they need from the people. Zimbabwe will find it difficult to come back from the brink if Zec are not going to run a credible election acceptable to all parties. The Zec leadership needs to differentiate between personal interest and national interest knowing that people are watching. It is critical for those at Zec to know that posterity will judge and judge them harshly if elections are not handled well.

ND: Do you think Zanu PF should hold an elective congress to reconfigure its structures ahead of next year’s elections?

MMM: It is not necessary to have an elective congress unless the structures are redone by people without ulterior motives. The current structures are G40 structures so an elective congress will produce a factional outcome. If anything, Mugabe was not appointed leader by a congress. The idea of a congress is being pushed by people who are against an existing revolutionary structure and this can only result in more divisions and chaos within the party and country. Zanu PF should do what is good for the party, but if anything it has already disowned its own constitution and now become some sort of Animal Farm with a clear plan to sideline all war veterans from the party.

ND: What platform do war veterans have to make sure their demands are met?

MMM: We simply go back to the people, we will continue to speak the truth and provide direction.

ND: What is the likelihood that a government that you argue has been infiltrated by your enemies will listen to your demands?

MMM: It might not because the people who are holding positions today, for example, the ministers of Home Affairs, Higher Education and Local Government are counter-revolutionaries and would never accept our demands. We started this crusade after the Chiweshe rally. We are clear Zimbabweans understand what we are saying and will know who to vote for. It is a small group of people with no social base. Next year’s elections will tell.

ND: When you say counter-revolutionaries are now residing at State House, do you mean Mugabe is being held against his will?

MMM: Sure, at his age the President was supposed to have retired and be able to write books and putting down what he has done for the country for future generations to benefit from the wisdom, if any, that he has. Those who are in the corridors of power are only interested in looting the country’s economy.

ND: So what do you think needs to be done to rescue the President and the country?

MMM: The only way to do it is to vote and find a suitable leader even among those that did not take part in the liberation struggle. We are 14 million citizens and if we choose well among us, they should be able to serve our common interests as a people. It is not possible that there is no one who can lead better than those in power today. We can always find one because nobody is indispensable. Zimbabwe is greater than individuals and will be there long after we are all gone. We need to reach out to the Diaspora engendered by the illegal sanctions and the ham-fisted response of the clueless, vapid and vacuous G40 in their illicit control of the apex of Executive power.
ND: Who funded the meeting?

MMM: It was funded by our members across the provinces, but we still owe some service providers because whatever we had raised was not enough.

Mutsvangwa outwits Chimene faction

THE Christopher Mutsvangwa-led Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA) has flexed its muscles by holding a hugely successful war veterans indaba in Harare on Thursday.

BY BLESSED MHLANGA

War veterans leader Christopher Mutsvangwa (right) and Zapu leader Dumiso Dabengwa (centre) at the war veterans indaba in Harare

War veterans leader Christopher Mutsvangwa (right) and Zapu leader Dumiso Dabengwa (centre) at the war veterans indaba in Harare

Mutsvangwa and his group pulled what could be the biggest coup yet in the current leadership wrangles which have become the centre of attention within the ex-freedom fighter’s camp.

In his introductive remarks Mutsvangwa in his usual verbose language, declared the indaba marked victory for his comrades and things would never be the same again.

“Comrades we are not here to be vituperative today. It is our day! We were not supposed to have this meeting, we have had it. The whole structures of government supported us to have our meeting. The institutional mechanisms we put in the country, a new arm, new intelligence system, a new police had no objections for us to have this meeting because its officers are part of us,” he said.

Over 1 000 war veterans bundled in the old AVM buses followed their provincial chairpersons and braved attempts by the security establishments to thwart the indaba.

They thronged Harare City Sports Centre, where they danced and sang nostalgic revolutionary songs with armed police and water cannons lying in wait some 300 metres away.

ZNLWVA secretary-general Victor Matemadanda said top Zanu PF figures, who felt threatened by an organised and united war veterans had attempted to thwart the meeting, but were stopped in their tracks by a competent Judiciary.

“The corrupt ones heading ministries thought we will use this meeting to discuss their corrupt deeds and how they hold stands in every town and the 50-bedroom houses they are building. We thank God we have a competent Judiciary,” he said.

It was the hero’s welcome that Matemadanda and Mutsvangwa received, as they entered the arena that left no doubt on who holds the sway and heart of the former freedom fighters.

The cheers that deafened the massive City Sports Centre as Mutsvangwa and Matemadanda delivered strong warnings against the G40 faction in Zanu PF and President Robert Mugabe’s leadership spoke volumes of the power the two hold in their constituency.

The most defining moment was when war veterans agreed it was no use to continue expecting their welfare will improve under Mugabe, and instead agreed to use their structures to punish their former commander by withholding their votes in 2018.

“Hoping to get any form of welfare from such people is a complete waste. The people you gave mandated to run this country have failed,” Matemadanda said.

Mugabe has used threats to withdraw State-funded trinkets and benefits from war veterans as a leash to maintain loyalty and support from his former comrades.

Pulling the ace from his sleeve, Mutsvangwa reached out to former Zipra commander Dumiso Dabengwa and his comrades who attended the indaba, declaring the bridge that divided the war veterans had been crossed.

Mutsvangwa, Matemadanda and other ZNLWVA national executive members were last year fired on allegations of indiscipline after they openly told Mugabe to step down to make way for Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa. A war veterans faction led by Manicaland provincial affairs minister Mandi Chimene has since emerged but has failed to gain traction among the ex-freedom fighters.

Plot to split Mujuru party exposed

Joice Mujuru’s National People’s Party (NPP) members have claimed they have busted a plot by some officials from Tendai Biti’s People Democratic Party (PDP) to infiltrate and cause another split of the former Vice-President’s party in order weaken her on the coalition negotiating table.

By Staff Reporter

National People’s Party leader Joice Mujuru

National People’s Party leader Joice Mujuru

They alleged the plot includes assuming provincial and national positions at the NPP’s elections to establish a substantive national leadership slated for today, and then months later defect en masse to the PDP. The alleged defections would make Mujuru to be viewed as weak and, therefore, unsuitable for very senior positions on the opposition coalition.

NPP members from Masvingo said the plot was being implemented by officials who have joined the party from the PDP.

They claim the former PDP members jostling for positions in the NPP were still working with their former party and had two meetings this year to strategise the infiltration and cause a split.

The plot has come to be dubbed as the Third Force and was aimed at discrediting Mujuru, while at the same time propelling Biti so that his stakes at the coalition negotiating table would rise.

Although most opposition leaders have endorsed MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai as the best candidate to lead the mooted coalition against President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF in the forthcoming 2018 general elections, the PDP outfit allegedly wanted to torpedo the former labour unionist.

“The PDP members still believed Biti is the best candidate to lead the coalition on account of Tsvangirai’s ill-health, but without numbers, they still face a mountain task against Mujuru.

“The plot is thus to have mass defections from Mujuru’s camp to prop up Biti’s profile and take over leadership of the coalition ahead of the Mujuru,” one member told NewsDay Weekender on condition of anonymity.”

The official added: “When we started the NPP as Zimbabwe People First, we agreed to accept anyone from anywhere and treat each other as equal partners. We had people from PDP. They joined the party and after a meeting with Biti on January 13 in Masvingo, they reinforced the recruitment drive in other provinces.

“Now they are a structure within a structure. They now want to dominate the provincial and national leadership positions and resign en mass after six weeks to dent president Mujuru’s image. The problem is more pronounced in Masvingo where they are working with a senior NPP official who is the both in the provincial and interim structures,” he said.

“The official (name withheld) thinks he is building his own team that will help him take over from Mujuru in two years, but he doesn’t know that the guys have an immediate plan to collapse the NPP within six months. In Masvingo, there is already a structure before the convention.”

NPP spokesperson Jealousy Mawarire said: “Normally, when you get allegations of such gravity, it is prudent to study them first and comment later.”

But PDP spokesperson Jacob Mafume dismissed this as machinations of Mugabe’s spy agency to collapse the coalition talks before the polls. He said his party has no intention to undermine Mujuru or any other opposition party.

“This is complete fabrication. We do not have the time to plot against Mujuru or any opposition. We are focusing on a coalition to remove Mugabe,” Mafume said.

“These are CIO machinations to destabilise the congress of a sister organisation. We wish Mujuru well. She must ignore this smokescreen that has become a trademark of Zanu PF.”

Mavhaire was not reachable yesterday.

Zanu PF women’s league demands ouster of Sandi-Moyo, Mahoka

ZANU PF women’s league members yesterday demonstrated for the second time in a week demanding the ouster of deputy secretary for women’s affairs Eunice Sandi-Moyo and Hurungwe East MP Sarah Mahoka.

BY SILAS NKALA

Sarah Mahoka

Sarah Mahoka

Hundreds of women’s league representatives drawn from across the country’s 10 provinces supported by the youth league demonstrated at the Bulawayo Provincial Headquarters Davis Hall calling for the ouster of Sandi-Moyo and Mahoka for allegedly undermining and insulting First Lady Grace Mugabe among a latent of corruption and theft allegations.

The demonstration followed the Wednesday nationwide protests by the wing, demanding the firing of the two from the party.

Representatives from all provinces waved posters bearing the portraits of Sandi Moyo and Mahoka, all marked with red X on them with the inscriptions reading ‘Midlands say they must go.’

The demonstration came at a time when the pro-Sandi Moyo faction of Zanu PF believed to be G40 had also demonstrated in solidarity with her on Thursday.

Indications during yesterday’s demonstrations were that pro-G40 faction members had blocked some party members who wanted to attend the demonstration.

They allegedly claimed there was another function where Vice-President Phelekezela Mphoko was supposed to address in Njube suburb, delaying the demonstration by over three hours.

Addressing the demonstrators, Bulawayo women’s league chairperson Eva Bitu, claimed to have received threatening messages from the pro-Sandi Moyo group.

“There are a lot of messages coming in here, some people are saying they will beat Bitu after this,” Bitu said.

“Bitu is the child of Prophet Emmanuel Makandiwa and nothing will happen to her.”

A national member of the war collaborators association, Joice Ndlovu, also claimed there were people threatening to waylay protestors on their return to their homes.

Matabeleland South women’s league chairperson Sister Moyo said: “Sandi and Mahoka must go and herd cattle and rear chickens; the job of grandmothers likes them.”

Midlands province women’s league, secretary Lydia Mataga and Masvingo chairperson, Veronica Makonese also endorsed the duo’s ouster.

Manicaland chairperson, Esthel Muyambo said Mahoka and Sandi-Moyo were dividing the ruling party.

“We grew up being told that we must respect elders. These two do not respect elders and must go. They are disturbing Amai (Grace) at a time when she has made great progress in improving women’s lives,” Matabeleland North chairperson, Madeline Bhebhe said.

Harare chairperson, Kasinamunda, Angeline Muchemenyi from Mashonaland West and Charity Manyeruke from Mashonaland East and a J Jonga from Mashonaland Central also echoed the same sentiments calling for the ouster of the two.

Sandi-Moyo on Thursday said she was not moved by the demonstrations while demonstrating her undying loyalty to the First Family.

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