Zanu PF's New Year scare

HARARE - It was a New Year party made in hell, at least if you are original Zanu PF.

A blast from the past, some would call it.

As the clock ticks towards another election that promises to be a bruising battle in Zimbabwe’s rugged political terrain, the Daily News on Sunday can reveal that liberation movement Zapu’s surviving High Command members met on New Year’s Day.

Although details were still sketchy, revived Zapu president and the party’s wartime intelligence supremo, Dumiso Dabengwa confirmed the gathering but denied it was a special meeting.

“Now I suppose we should be running away from each other. We are not allowed to meet any longer. It was not a meeting and I wonder why anybody would call it that,” Dabengwa said.

“As far as I am concerned, Tshinga Dube had a Christmas party and invited lots of people including the people you are alleging. We are not enemies by the way and cannot be expected to ignore what we share,” he said.

Zanu PF and PF Zapu, the country’s liberation war guerrilla armies, were eternal enemies after independence.

Zapu was forced to abandon its identity and merge with President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF in 1987 under a “Unity Accord” meant to stop a military deployment to Zapu strongholds in Matabeleland and Midlands provinces.

Zapu has since broken away although reports say some like Dube remain in Zanu PF while enjoying cosy relations with Zapu comrades at the same time.

It is this relationship that rattles original Zanu PF members.

An insider told the Daily News on Sunday: “On New Year, Zapu’s old guard made an emotional re-union through a luncheon hosted by Rt Colonel Tshinga Dube at his Bulawayo residence.

“Those present included Zanu PF chairperson Simon Khaya Moyo, Dabengwa, members of the Zipra command, Angeline Masuku, former Zanu PF Bulawayo chairperson Isaac Dakamela, and Nic Ncube, a former central bank deputy governor.

“The day started at Masuku’s farm, Matopo, before proceeding to Cecelia Bhebhe’s Motsamai Lodge in Bulawayo and ended with the luncheon,” the insider, who preferred anonymity, said.

Dube denied it was a political meeting.

“It was a celebration of my son’s achievement who has just completed his medical degree and will be working at United Bulawayo Hospitals. All the people who came did so as family friends and nothing more,” Dube said.

Asked whether the former members of Zipra’s High Command meet regularly: Dube said: “What for? No. I am a member of the Zanu PF politburo and my meeting with these people and in particular Dabengwa was not political,” the Zimbabwe Defence Industries chief said.

Khaya Moyo was not available for comment.

The Daily News on Sunday heard there have been other meetings before this one at which Dube was not present.

“This group has remained intact despite people expecting them to be enemies because of their seemingly differing political affiliations. They meet regularly.”

Dube denied knowledge of the meeting at Masuku’s farm or Motsamai Lodge.

“I do not know about that. Maybe they did before coming to my place. But I have Christmas parties every year,” he said.

Efforts to get a comment from the Zanu PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo were in vain as his mobile phone was unreachable.

 Party secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa could also not be reached for comment.

 Sources however, say the meeting has shaken the party to the core given that it has struggled to win votes in Matabeleland and Midlands provinces since 2000.

In the circumstances, Zanu PF would want to maintain some modicum of unity as elections draw closer and any such gatherings especially attended by renegade Zapu cadres such as Dabengwa are treated with suspicion.

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