Robert Mugabe’s party expels more senior party officials

HARARE – Zimbabwe’s ruling Zanu PF party on Thursday evening expelled at least seven top party members who have been linked to a faction of the former liberation movement said to be supporting ousted former Vice President Joice Mujuru and several others accused of attempting to topple President Robert Mugabe before the party’s congress last December.

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In Mashonaland East, those expelled from the party were former provincial chairman Ray Kaukonde and former Women Affairs secretary for the commissariat Olivia Muchena, while in Masvingo former secretary for production and labour Dzikamai Mavhaire, former deputy secretary for economic affairs Kudakwashe Bhasikiti and former Central Committee member Claudius Makova were also booted out.

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Mrs. Mujuru was expelled from the party together with some then senior Zanu PF leaders that included deposed party spokesman Rugare Gumbo, former secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa, former war veterans leader Jabulani Sibanda and several others.

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The party alleged that they hatched a plan to oust Mr. Mugabe in the run up to the Zanu PF elective congress, a move that was botched by another faction of the party allegedly led by current Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

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They have since dismissed these allegations a politically-motivated move to sideline them in the succession battle for 91 year-old President Mugabe, who has been in power since the country attained independence from British rule in 1980.

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Both Mrs. Mujuru and Mnangagwa allegedly habour presidential ambitions though they have dismissed these reports as untrue and misleading.

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Factionalism has ravaged the ruling party ahead of the forthcoming parliamentary by-elections with some top officials accusing each other of imposing candidates of their choice on the electorate.

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The parliamentary seats fell vacant when the Movement for Democratic Change formation led by Morgan Tsvangirai recalled members of the rival MDC Renewal Party, who were elected in 2013 general poll under the MDC-T.

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The country’s constitution stipulates that a party has a right to recall any lawmaker if one decides to dump it before completing a five-year term of office.

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In Mashonaland Central, Mbire National Assembly representative David Butau and an official, Kudakwashe Gope, were also kicked out.

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The expulsions and suspensions were announced by Zanu-PF secretary for information and publicity Simon Khaya Moyo soon after a meeting of the ruling party’s Politburo last night.

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Khaya Moyo said the seven were expelled after the Politburo endorsed the recommendations of the National Disciplinary Committee.

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They join Dr Mujuru, former secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa and former secretary for information and publicity Rugare Gumbo and former Mashonaland West provincial chairman Temba Mliswa who were also expelled for the roles they played in the botched attempt to topple President Mugabe.

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“There are other members who have been suspended from holding any position in the party for a period of two or five years starting from January 1, 2015. All these cases are from six provinces. Mashonaland West, Matebeleland North and South and Bulawayo will be considered at the next Politburo meeting,” Khaya Moyo said.

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Those given five-year suspensions include former Politburo member Tendai Savanhu, former Central Committee members Noah Mangondo and Munyaradzi Banda, former provincial chairman Amos Midzi and former deputy provincial chairman Christopher Chigumba, while in Manicaland another former Politburo member Munacho Mutezo was also suspended.

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EXPELLED

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In Mashonaland Central, Dougmore Chimukoko, a former political commissar in Mazowe District, was also given a five-year suspension, while in the Midlands former Politburo member Flora Bhuka and former provincial chairman Jaison Machaya were also suspended for the same period.

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In Masvingo, former provincial chairman Killian Gwanetsa and former provincial political commissar Tranos Huruba were also suspended for five years while Chiratidzo Mabuwa, who is the Deputy Minister of Industry and Commerce and hails from the Midlands, was given a three-year suspension.

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“There are other members who were suspended for a period of two years and their names would be announced in due course,” Khaya Moyo added.

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Khaya Moyo, however, said the Politburo had exonerated some party members who also had their cases brought before the disciplinary committee.

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In Harare, the members who were found not guilty are Ratidzo Mukarate, Miriam Chikukwa, Tsitsi Jadagu, Edith Kagoro and Idah Mashonganyika while in Mashonaland Central Petronella Kagonye, Beata Nyamupinga, Paddy Zhanda and Lillian Zemura were also absolved.

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Khaya Moyo, however, said those suspended remained party members.

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“All these people who have been suspended remain ordinary party card-carrying members, including those who are MPs. They remain ordinary card-carrying members.

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“We must not think that those who have been suspended are no longer members of the party. They are just not allowed to hold positions within the period of suspensions,” he said.

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Meanwhile, the Politburo endorsed Terrence Mukupe as the party’s candidate for the Harare East by-election.

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“The national Political Commissar (Saviour Kasukuwere) gave his report on the recent and forthcoming by-elections. All is going well in the affected areas and Zanu-PF is destined for victory in all the constituencies. The Politburo welcomed the report and instructed him to review and strengthen Harare Province.

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“The Politburo also endorsed Terrence Mukupe as the Zanu-PF candidate in the forthcoming Harare East by-elections and directed that Mavis Gumbo should withdraw her candidature,” Khaya Moyo said.

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The Zanu-PF spokesperson also said they received a report from the party’s Secretary for Legal Affairs, Patrick Chinamasa – who is also the Minister of Finance – on the implementation of Zim-Asset.

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“Chinamasa gave a detailed report on measures being implemented by Government to support economic development in Zimbabwe in line with our economic policy Zim-Asset. His brief covered agriculture, mining and housing.

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“His focus was on the implementation of Zim-Asset as mandated by Congress and the 2013 elections manifesto,” Cde Khaya Moyo said.

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The Zanu-PF Secretary for External Affairs, Simbarashe Mumbengegwi, also gave his report on the recent foreign visits.

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“Mumbengegwi also gave his report on the visits by His Excellency to South Africa, Asia-Africa Summit in Indonesia, Mali and his recent visit to Botswana,” he said. – The Herald