HARARE – Some Zanu PF hardliners are turning on the party’s new political commissar Saviour Kasukuwere as relations within the so-called Gang of Four continue to fray and close allies of Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa flex their muscles, the Daily News has learnt.

\n

KasukuwereSources said yesterday that the stunning turn of events follows growing criticism within sections of the party that Kasukuwere, who is also Environmental and Water Affairs minister and is nicknamed Tyson for his combative political style, has grown “too ambitious and too big for his boots” — which needed urgent “nipping in the bud”.

\n

The new crisis to hit President Robert Mugabe’s warring party comes at a time that the nonagenarian is battling old age and ill-health, and a messy split in Zanu PF — which has recently seen liberation struggle pioneers forming a competing “Zanu PF” that is flying under the name Zanu People First.

\n

The sources who spoke to the Daily News yesterday said in the latest party ructions, Kasukuwere and other young Turks, referred to as Generation 40 (G40), were now pitted against supporters of Mnangagwa who were determined to make sure that the party strongman succeeded Mugabe following the summary expulsion of former VP Joice Mujuru from the party last week.

\n

Although the two camps had united in a broad front to oust and eventually expel Mujuru from the party, the sources claimed this had been “a marriage of convenience” as they both wanted one of their own to succeed Mugabe.

\n

“This is the reason why Tyson (Kasukuwere) was taken to serious task during last week’s politburo meeting. Among other issues, he had unilaterally and factionally decided to overturn Manicaland Province’s rejection of his allies Dakarai Mapuranga and Albert Nyakuedzwa’s CVs to represent the party in the Headlands by-elections in June.

\n

“His opponents in the politburo such as Oppah (Muchinguri-Kashiri) made sure that he was humiliated and that the decision to promote members of his faction was overturned on the spot,” one of the sources said.

\n

Mapuranga’s CV was rejected on the basis that he had only been a member of the provincial Youth League for four months when the party demanded that a potential candidate for the legislature must have been in recognised party structures for at least five years.

\n

On the other hand, Nyakuedzwa was blocked because he apparently has a criminal record, after he was said to have been convicted of the murder of war veteran Tina Wilson Mukono in 2005.

\n

The duo’s supporters demonstrated against Muchinguri- Kashiri, Patrick Chinamasa, Kudzanai Chipanga and Samuel Undenge last week, accusing them of being behind their rejection by party bigwigs.

\n

The duo also went on to appeal against the province’s decision to the national elections directorate, which is headed by Kasukuwere, who in turn went on to throw the party constitution away and controversially cleared the two to stand in the internal party contest.

\n

“This has created an irreparable rift between the former tight members of the Gang of Four Kasukuwere and Muchinguri, with the latter, who regards herself as the godmother of Manicaland, accusing the former of being disrespectful and forging a close alliance with Ngwena (Mnangagwa),” another source said.

\n

Zanu PF spokesperson Simon Khaya Moyo distanced himself from the chaos yesterday, saying he was not in a position to comment on the divisive matter.

\n

“It is Kasukuwere who is responsible for that department and was responsible for these elections. He would be better-placed to explain with facts than I can do. So I hope he will give a briefing on the correct position,” Khaya Moyo said.

\n

The clashes between Muchinguri-Kashiri and Kasukuwere mark the collapse of the ruling party’s powerful Gang of Four which also included Mugabe’s nephew Patrick Zhuwao and Information and Broadcasting Services minister Jonathan Moyo.

\n

The four are credited with master-minding the ouster and then expulsion of Mujuru and her allies from the party.

\n

A politburo member who also spoke to the Daily News yesterday described Kasukuwere’s move to suspend the decision by Manicaland Province on Mapuranga and Nyakuedzwa as “unusual and alien” to Zanu PF.

\n

He also said Mapuranga and Nyakuedzwa’s decision to appeal that decision was “mischievous” given that Kasukuwere was himself the custodian of those rules.

\n

“It is like a minister of Education who requests for teachers to fill vacancies and when he is given qualified ones, he chooses to go for the unqualified. It is absurd,” the senior party official said.

\n

“We have other candidates who did not qualify and accepted but these two comrades used their relationship with the national commissar to try and smuggle their way in, but they still lost”, the official added.

\n

What has particularly irked some of the party stalwarts opposed to Kasukuwere was that many G40 members affectionately but inappropriately referred to him as Barack Obama, inferring that he was Zimbabwe’s future president in the making.

\n

“It is this suspicion that is at the centre of the bickering which has been amplified by the ongoing primary elections and the deployment of politburo members to oversee the Zanu PF restructuring exercise,” another insider recently told the Daily News.

\n

Kasukuwere’s detractors have also drawn out their daggers against him allegedly because most of the politburo members he deployed to oversee the ongoing party restructuring exercise in the provinces were more sympathetic to him and working against Mnangagwa. – Daily News