HARARE – Former Zanu PF secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa yesterday remained defiant, saying he did not recognise his expulsion from the ruling party and accused First Lady Grace Mugabe of engineering his political downfall.

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Grace was part of the Zanu PF disciplinary panel set up to deal with Mutasa for allegedly throwing the party’s name into disrepute. The panel selected by President Robert Mugabe was chaired by Vice-President Phelekezela Mphoko.

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Mutasa told NewsDay a day after he was shown the exit door that he was not going anywhere, adding that Wednesday’s politburo decision to fire him had spurred him to vigorously pursue his legal challenge aimed at nullifying the party’s December congress resolutions.

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On Wednesday, Mugabe chaired a politburo meeting that expelled Mutasa and former Mashonaland West provincial chairperson Temba Mliswa from Zanu PF on charges of misconduct and bringing the party’s name into disrepute.

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“They have expelled me from the unlawful Zanu PF where they belong,” Mutasa said.

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“They are not able to expel me from the original, law-abiding and constitutional Zanu PF, which puts people and the country first. That is where I belong and shall happily stay.”

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Mutasa added: “There is no doubt that she [First Lady] is a centre of their power. She will soon be placed on the same level as the President.”

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Former Zanu PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo, who was expelled before the December congress for allegedly plotting against Mugabe, said the politburo’s decision to summarily dismiss Mutasa and Mliswa without affording them a disciplinary hearing would bolster their resolve to take the party and Mugabe to court.

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“Of course, it’s the natural thing to do [challenge the expulsion] and we are therefore continuing with our court action against the party’s decision,” Gumbo said.

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“It’s very disturbing that even after working in the party for a very long time you can be expelled without a hearing against natural justice principles.”

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“It is not good for the politburo to just fire people. It destroys the party. The wounds that are inflicted by them will not heel if people continue to be expelled unconstitutionally. It is tragic that people continue to be expelled without hearings,” Gumbo said.

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Gumbo was one of the party members who were expelled by the politburo without being subjected to a hearing, as the purge against former Vice-President Joice Mujuru’s allies escalated in the run-up to the party’s congress last December.

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To date, 16 ministers linked to the Mujuru camp have been instantaneously relieved of both their government and party posts.

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Mliswa, on the other hand, yesterday said he welcomed the politburo’s decision. He was, however, optimistic he would bounce back once the dust had settled down.

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“Age is still on my side,” Mliswa said.

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Analysts said Mutasa’s expulsion showed Zanu PF was a dictatorship.
\nMedia and democracy scholar Pedzisai Ruhanya said: “If you look at Mutasa and Mliswa’s case, that tells you that Zanu PF is a competitive authoritarian regime. Most fundamentally, it doesn’t espouse any democratic principles.

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“They did it during the liberation struggle and they did it during the 2008 harmonised elections. There is no democracy here, if there was democracy, Mutasa and Mliswa were supposed to appear before the national disciplinary committee.”

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Ruhanya said the actions in Zanu PF now were clear testimony why the future of the party was hazy.

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Another analyst, Ibbo Mandaza, said: “For Mutasa, this doesn’t change anything. He is not recognising the congress and the office occupants from that congress.”

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Mutasa’s lawyers were yet to file papers challenging the legality of the December congress. – NewsDay