EXPELLED former Zanu PF secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa yesterday vowed to defend his Headlands parliamentary seat in a by-election which he said he would contest on the ruling party ticket, a development likely to rekindle the party’s factional fights.

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This came amid reports that the Zanu PF axe was also hovering over the party’s national spokesperson Simon Khaya Moyo’s head following his alleged continued association with the “Gamatox” faction fronted by former Vice-President Joice Mujuru.

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Mutasa — who was fired from Zanu PF last week for publicly denouncing the party’s December congress — said he still regarded himself a bona fide party member and would contest any by-election in his constituency under the party’s banner.

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“Yes, I shall contest. I do not want to let my members down,” the former Presidential Affairs minister said. “I will contest as the original Zanu PF candidate.”

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Mutasa was expelled alongside his nephew, Hurungwe West MP Temba Mliswa, who has since announced plans to contest the constituency by-election as an independent candidate.

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President Robert Mugabe’s former close aide was initially relieved of his party and government posts after he described the Zanu PF elective congress held last December as unconstitutional and threatened to file a legal challenge at the High Court seeking nullification of its resolutions.

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This angered his erstwhile comrades who urged him to drop the planned court challenge and remain subservient to the party leadership.

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But Mutasa maintained his defiance, a stance which led to his expulsion from Zanu PF last week before even appearing before a six-member disciplinary tribunal tasked to handle his case.

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Following his expulsion, Mutasa dug in saying no one in the current ruling party hierarchy could sack him as he belonged to the original Zanu PF.

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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,” Mutasa said last week. “That is where I belong and shall happily stay.”

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Mutasa and Mliswa’s seats are yet to be declared vacant and Mugabe has not yet proclaimed a by-election date.

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Yesterday, party insiders said Khaya Moyo was set to lose his politburo seat as the ongoing purge of all Zanu PF members linked to the Mujuru camp continues.

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“Khaya Moyo will be the next to be fired,” a close Zanu PF source said. “He is said to be linked to the Gamatox people and has failed to denounce them in his statements as spokesperson. His plight has been made worse because he is alleged to have been spotted in the company of ousted former Mashonaland East provincial chairperson Ray Kaukonde. He is also accused of failing to denounce the MDC-T in his statements.”

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It is understood that Khaya Moyo could have been axed before or soon after the December congress alongside Mujuru and several other party bigwigs, but survived after he and Defence minister Sidney Sekeramayi “privately” apologised to Mugabe and his wife First Lady Grace.

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Zanu PF insiders close to the developments told NewsDay that Khaya Moyo’s reprieve could be shortlived as moves were underway to relieve him of his duties, a week after Masvingo Provincial Affairs minister Kudakwashe Bhasikiti was fired for working with the Mujuru camp.

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“The First Lady wants everyone who was working with Mujuru relieved of his or her duties both in the party and government. Obviously, her wishes will prevail. Khaya Moyo is perceived as one of them and allegations that he was spotted in the company of Kaukonde, the First Lady’s worst enemy, have made his situation most precarious,” the insider said.

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Khaya Moyo was said to have been working with Mujuru and was tipped to take over as Vice-President in the event that Mujuru succeeded Mugabe. Efforts to contact him were fruitless as his mobile phone went unanswered. – NewsDay