Gumbo, Mutasa say no to Mugabe

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    HARARE – Zanu PF stalwarts, who are taking their party to court over its democratic deficiencies, as well as its contested damp squib “elective” congress that was held in Harare last December, will disregard President Robert Mugabe’s orders that they do not do so, as they feel that the nonagenarian is being fed lies by his legal advisors.

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    Speaking to the Daily News on Sunday yesterday, on behalf of the group that includes former Presidential Affairs Minister Didymus Mutasa, former Zanu PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo (pictured) confirmed that they would not yield to the instruction that the matter be dealt with internally, and would therefore launch their court challenge “soon”.

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    On Wednesday, the party’s newly-appointed spokesperson, Simon Khaya Moyo, told journalists after a politburo meeting in Harare that Mugabe had directed that the aggrieved party members should not turn to the High Court to settle party matters. At the same time, the disaffected members bemoan what they say is a worsening lack of democratic space in the party, in addition to asserting their conviction that they only recognise the Zanu PF structures and constitution that obtained before the disputed congress late last year.

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    As it is, Mutasa maintains that he is still the party’s legitimate secretary for administration, even though Mugabe has since moved to appoint Ignatius Chombo to that position.

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    Gumbo said it was also worrying that the signals that were emanating from the politburo were now “very contradictory and difficult to follow”.

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    “There now seems to be contradictions within Zanu PF. At one point they pronounced, for example, that Mutasa had been demoted and he was duly attacked publicly and personally after that.

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    “The next think they said he should be disciplined internally, which all shows that the president is being misled,” Gumbo said.

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    Zanu PF has already set up a disciplinary committee to decide Mutasa’s fate — with his home province of Manicaland and many party bigwigs, including members of the disciplinary committee, baying for his summary expulsion from the party.

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    Although the party, aided by lickspittle State media, has lately attempted to exude a demeanour of calmness and confidence, insiders say there is palpable fear that Mutasa’s intended court case could open a can of worms that could completely destroy Zanu PF.

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    They point to the Headlands legislator’s intimate knowledge of Mugabe, the ruling party and the government — as a former top party honcho and senior minister in charge of national intelligence — as the factors that made him dangerous.

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    According to Khaya Moyo, Mugabe said at the Wednesday politburo meeting that “the party has principles, rules and values that are not subjected to higher courts as some believe and if you are a party member, there are structures you must use to get your concerns addressed, but not through the High Court or other institutions outside the party”.

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    But the group of disaffected party stalwarts say Zanu PF’s values were “thrown down the drain” when many party officials were unfairly and irregularly removed from their positions, suspended or dismissed from the party.

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    As a result, Gumbo said, their group would continue pursuing their mooted court case because the “courts are there to listen to cases brought before them”.

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    “We want to approach the court because we are not getting recourse from within the party. So talking about values is actually not fair to anyone or the party.

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    “It should be understood that the president is being misled by his legal team of Patrick Chinamasa and Emmerson Mnangagwa. They are lying to the president about these legal matters.

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    “We do not have a problem with the president. Our problem is with the hijackers who are ripping the party apart.

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    “We also do not recognise the politburo because it is unconstitutional, and Comrade Mutasa is not bound by its statements or pronouncements,” Gumbo said.

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    Ahead of the party’s congress last year, Zanu PF went on an unprecedented orgy of violent purges of all its senior officials perceived to be sympathetic to former Vice President Joice Mujuru, who was also discarded unceremoniously from both her party and government posts on murky and untested allegations that she, together with her allies, was plotting to oust and assassinate Mugabe.

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    The brutal purges left Zanu PF seriously divided, with analysts saying the party was now at one of its weakest points in its 52 years of existence.

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    And about two months after the party’s disputed congress, there does not appear to be an end in sight to the ruthless purges, with some heads of parliamentary portfolio committees being the latest to be discarded — amid talk of another looming and major cabinet reshuffle, as well as savage prunings that will reportedly affect service chiefs and senior civil servants.

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    In the interview yesterday, Gumbo pooh-poohed calls from his erstwhile Zanu PF comrades for unity, saying it was “gobsmacking that the party talks of unity when mafikizolos (Johnny-come-latelies) are allowed to continue destroying it”.

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    “They say we should unite, but how can people be united when every persends een as close to Mujuru is being purged. That is a clear contradiction,” Gumbo said. – Daily News