Zanu PF expulsions boost People First

HARARE – Zanu PF bigwigs who were expelled from the party on Wednesday have vowed that they will not be pushed out of politics — a move that analysts said yesterday suggested that the much-talked about “original” Zanu PF fronted by disaffected liberation struggle stalwarts was about to take off.

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FUNGI KWARAMBA AND BRIDGET MANANAVIRE

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mujuru

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Seemingly unfazed by their widely expected expulsion from the post-congress Zanu PF, most of the dismissed political heavyweights who spoke to the Daily News yesterday said that they were happy to move on with their lives and forge alliances with other disgruntled members of the party in an endeavour to “extricate the country from the edge of the precipice”.

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While most of their messages were coded, they resonated with those of the mooted “original” Zanu PF that uses the slogan People First, and whose major drivers thus far have included former Presidential Affairs minister Didymus Mutasa and liberation war pioneer Rugare Gumbo who want to return the ruling party to its founding principles.

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At its long politburo meeting on Wednesday, President Robert Mugabe’s post-congress Zanu PF summarily expelled seven former top officials from within its ranks on suspicions that they continued to hobnob with former Vice President Joice Mujuru and her allies who were booted out of the party late last year on untested allegations that they were plotting to oust and kill President Robert Mugabe.

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Instead of ushering in a new era of peace and stability in the post-congress Zanu PF, analysts say Mujuru’s expulsion has seemingly worked to deepen the ruling party’s deadly factional and succession wars — pointing to the fact that the popular widow of the late revered army commander, General Solomon Mujuru, was not at the heart of the party’s ructions.

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The analysts and party insiders who spoke to the Daily News yesterday also said that the latest Zanu PF purges could result in the total collapse of the post-congress party formation led by Mugabe as those booted out had — like those before them — been dumped without being accorded the opportunity to defend themselves.

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Apart from expelling the seven top officials, the ruling party also suspended hordes of other leading acolytes — virtually all of whom also say they are ready to forget the past and “face the future with or without” their erstwhile post-congress comrades.

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Among those expelled are former ministers Olivia Muchena, Dzikamai Mavhaire and Kudakwashe Bhasikiti, as well as retired army colonel Claudius Makova, prominent member David Butau, former Mashonaland East chairperson Ray Kaukonde and central committee member Kudakwashe Gopo.

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The luckier targeted members such as former ministers Nicholas Goche, Jason Machaya and Munacho Mutezo, as well as senior officials that include Tendai Savanhu, Flora Buka and Noah Mangondo were suspended from the party for five years.

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Contacted from his constituency in Masvingo, Bhasikiti said analogically that if “Jesus Christ had not been betrayed by one of his own the world would not have Christianity today”.

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“Yanga iri garoziva (it was obvious). Dai Judas asina kundotengesa Jesu, dai pasina nyaya yechi Kristu(If Judas had not betrayed Jesus, there would not be Christianity). The plan was that Jesus was supposed to die and Pilate could not save him,” Bhasikiti said.

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And seemingly in high spirits, Bhasikiti said the Zanu PF purges heralded a new beginning for Zimbabwe’s body politic.

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“This is God’s plan for those who have been driven out of Zanu PF to mend the country. I am not mad at anyone, but happy because this happened even during biblical times, and history is merely repeating itself,” Bhasikiti said.

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The former Masvingo State minister added that the expelled Zanu PF officials were going to fix Zanu PF and the country at large in the near future.

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“Those who threw Daniel in the pit thought he would never get out but he did. Tichazosunungura musangano wedu pamberi apo nevanhu vedu (we will liberate Zanu PF),” Bhasikiti said.

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The post-congress Zanu PF purges are coming at a time when some disgruntled party stalwarts and veterans of the country’s liberation struggle have broken ranks with Mugabe to form a rival “original” Zanu PF that uses the slogan People First, and is associated with Mujuru.

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Warming up to the idea of joining another party, Makova, a retired senior army official, said his expulsion from Zanu PF would not take out the politics that flowed in his veins.

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Asked how he felt after receiving news of his expulsion, Makova said, “Nothing really, it’s unfortunate but life goes on.”

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“I am a war veteran and have been with Zanu since 1964. I never dreamt of being expelled from Zanu PF but when the decision has been made then that is it. I will be watching from the terraces.

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“But if a person is expelled from a team like Dynamos and along come Caps United he can join that team. I say it is unfortunate because the charges were never laid to me. Had I been asked I would have given my side of the story,” he said.

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Asked if he would appeal against his expulsion he said Bluntly, “I won’t.”

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The retired army colonel decried the fact that Zanu PF had suddenly become “a lawless party rife with insubordination”.

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“There is too much insubordination in Zanu PF because there is no respect. Anyone can attack anyone including the mafikizolos (Johnny-come-latelies) attacking senior party officials. But just like you if you are fired from the Daily News you can always join another paper and life goes on,” Makova said defiantly.

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The move to expel more people perceived to be close to Mujuru was described by some of the affected members as “petty vindictiveness” — amid clear indications that the deadly witch-hunts are far from over as hardliners press ahead with the cleansing of the post-congress party.

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Gopo, a former central committee member, said he had many options politically.

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“It is normal to be expelled from any organisation. I accept the outcome and I will not challenge it. For now I will sit down and look ahead. If something comes up I will decide whether to join.

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“As for their decision, I was not shocked because it has been long coming. Since December last year I do not remember the number of times I was expelled so this is a relief in many ways,” Gopo said.

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Gumbo, who is now the spokesperson of the “original” Zanu PF and the first high profile party figure to be axed last year, described the latest round of purges as a sign that the party was now “completely bankrupt” and led by people who did not appreciate its past.

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“It is not surprising that these things have taken place. It was always going to come. It came as no surprise to some of us,” Gumbo said.

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He added that the removal of Mujuru and other party leading lights was based on “petty issues peddled by mafikizolos and not real issues”.

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“This vindicates us that people who have done nothing are treated this way. As far as we are concerned we say welcome to the club. The likes of Jonathan Moyo (Information minister) are basking in glory.

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“Isn’t he the one who once said Zanu PF can only be destroyed from inside. Has he succeeded now? This is a clear manifestation that we are being led by a bunch of confused leaders who have no ideological and political compass,” Gumbo said. – Daily News