Fresh coup plot in Zanu PF

HARARE - An alleged coup plot against Zanu PF administration secretary Didymus Mutasa gives a glimpse of the power struggle within President Robert Mugabe’s party over succession.

A clandestine meeting held on Friday night — reminiscent of the 2004 Tsholotsho plot against Mugabe — at the home of Women’s League boss Oppah Muchinguri in Murambi reportedly schemed the ouster of Mutasa.

Muchinguri denies the meeting took place. Mutasa is the Zanu PF official believed to be closest to Mugabe and an attempt on his office is generally viewed as an attack on the 89-year-old Zimbabwe leader.

Authoritative sources say the meeting saw the “clandestine” invitation of senior members of the party, including party provincial chairpersons, to a “high-powered meeting” in Manicaland a few days before Zanu PF’s primary elections.

Zanu PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo has said the party was in the dark about the meeting, but said he will get to the bottom of the matter today.

Senior Zanu PF leaders loyal to a faction leader in Zanu PF had allegedly plotted a coup that would have seen Mutasa overthrown.

They accused him of imposing candidates, running a dictatorship and denting the party brand.

The meeting was reportedly attended by Justice and Legal Affairs minister Patrick Chinamasa, who was said to be livid that Mutasa had imposed Basil Nyabadza to square off with him in the primary polls.

A top Zanu PF official yesterday expressed dismay at the clandestine meeting saying the former ruling party did not need such distractions ahead of elections.

“This is clearly Tsholotsho Part 2 because some of the 2004 actors are involved. For Chinamasa, I don’t know what’s wrong with him because he was, as minister of Justice wining and dining with someone who has been suspended by the party.

“Chinamasa was sharing the same table with a party official who is due to go to court today. Is this not a conflict of interest all because people are seeking power?”

Deputy minister of Energy, Hubert Nyanhongo, suspended provincial chairman Mike Madiro, acting chairperson Dorothy Mabika, Buhera North legislator and businessman William Mutomba and war veterans leader Joseph Chinotimba also are said to have attended the meeting.

Zanu PF, which has enjoyed 33 years of uninterrupted rule since independence from Britain, is embroiled in a bitter struggle over succession.

The plot echoes the 2004 coup plot in which serial political flip-flopper Jonathan Moyo allegedly organised an unsanctioned meeting in Tsholotsho, Matabeleland North, to scuttle the nomination of Vice President Joice Mujuru and block the re-nomination of then Vice President Joseph Msika and national chairman John Nkomo into the party presidium.

Moyo was allegedly backing Mnangagwa and then Women’s League boss Thenjiwe Lesabe as the party’s two vice-presidents and Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa as national chairman.

Six Zanu PF provincial chairpersons, including Madiro, who attended the meeting that came up with the alleged “Tsholotsho Declaration” were suspended from the party but have since been rehabilitated. - Staff Writer

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