Fireworks at politburo meeting as Chinamasa & Goche ejected

There were fireworks at Wednesday’s ZANU PF politburo meeting as a war of words broke out between rival factions, resulting in GPA negotiators Patrick Chinamasa and Nicholas Goche being asked to temporarily leave the room.

SW Radio Africa understands members of a faction led by Defence Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa attacked chief negotiator Chinamasa for making “disastrous concessions,” in their talks with the two MDC formations.

Journalist Lifa Khumalo who runs the ZimScribes blog told us, “the war of words started when Chinamasa finished making his presentation on the ongoing negotiations between them and the two MDC formations and the election roadmap agreed to by all the three parties.”

So-called hardliners in the Mnangagwa faction, who are pushing for an early election, accused Chinamasa and Goche of not consulting the party in their negotiations. In front of Mugabe they told Chinamasa his report was “rubbish and treacherous to the party” and was “littered with many stupid concessions.”

One of the issues dividing the party is the date for the next elections. Last week Chinamasa said it was not possible to hold elections this year. He said next year or 2013 would be more likely, to allow for the work of drawing up a new constitution. But this week ZANU PF spokesman Rugare Gumbo contradicted him saying the party position was very clear – “elections are on this year.”

Both Chinamasa and Goche were listed as ‘item number 3’ for discussion during the meeting. The mistrust was apparently so intense they were asked to leave the room. This allowed Mnangagwa and Vice President John Nkomo to seek clarifications during their absence. It was at this point that Mnangagwa asked Mugabe whether or not they should be replaced as negotiators by ‘tough guys’.

“The president refused, arguing that they are too clued up with the goings on and replacing them will cost the party,” Khumalo’s source said.
We are told that Mnangagwa and Gumbo were particularly vocal in their attacks on the two negotiators.

We previously reported that the other ZANU PF faction led by retired army general Solomon Mujuru want a delayed poll and are happy with Chinamasa’s statements. Khumalo told us that on Wednesday, “Mujuru did not say a word in the meeting but seemed to be scribbling some notes in a pad.”

Mujuru’s general demeanor suggested he was perfectly happy with the work of the negotiators. Khumalo told us the Mujuru faction want a delay in elections to allow it time to build up its base. He said it’s also speculated that the faction is hoping that the longer it takes to get to an election, the more likely the alleged divisions in the MDC-T will cause the party to split and weaken its support base.

Emerging from the heated Politburo meeting Gumbo apparently tried to portray the image of a united party. He dismissed as ‘nonsensical’ reports that South African President Jacob Zuma’s facilitation team wanted to meet security chiefs as part of moves towards reforming the security sector and he said the politburo had agreed on the holding of elections this year and that Chinamasa would be following the party line on this issue. – SW Radio