HARARE - Claims that some youth leaders in the deeply divided Zanu PF are being victimised because of their allegiance to First Lady Grace Mugabe are part of the dirty succession wars to hoodwink 90-year-old President Robert Mugabe to turn against those perceived to sympathise with Vice President Joice Mujuru, documents seen by the Daily News reveal.
Tempers are reaching boiling point in the fractured Zanu PF, where Mujuru and Justice minister Emmerson Mnangagwa are reportedly leading factions rooting to take over once Mugabe retires or is incapacitated.
The ugly factional fights have seen senior officials including national chairperson Simon Khaya Moyo, party secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa and political commissar Webster Shamu — who are all linked to the Mujuru camp — being brutally savaged in the State media after convening a meeting to try and restore discipline in the party on Wednesday.
Youth leaders, who are facing disciplinary action in their respective provinces, have invoked the powerful Mugabe’s name to settle scores with their perceived tormentors.
Zanu PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo all but confirmed the development yesterday saying people can go to unprecedented lengths to settle political scores.
“As a party we are very clear. People are trying to make mountains out of nothing. We have always said the party has its internal processes. It is only people who have sour grapes (sic) and want to use the First Lady to settle scores who are doing this.
We are very clear on the First Lady, the recent conferences endorsed the First Lady and we issued a statement, on that we are very clear. In order to curry favour, people can do anything,” said Gumbo.
Investigations by the Daily News have revealed some of the youths have been facing disciplinary hearings well before Grace was roped into the political fray.
For instance Vengai Musengi, the Mashonaland West provincial youth leader was facing disciplinary action as early as February this year — accused of diverting party funds that were meant for the 21st February celebrations.
According to documents seen by the Daily News, Zanu PF Mashonaland West province says in February, Musengi allegedly also leaked to the media “a copy of a confidential letter from the provincial chairman Temba Mliswa to the national secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa.”
Part of the letter read: “Whilst acting alone, you parcelled out donated cash meant for the 21st February Movement youngsters, in excess of $10000 — to members of your executive without the express authority from either the provincial chairman or the provincial treasurer.”
Contrary to Musengi’s claims that the charges against him are linked to his support for Grace, the letters bearing Zanu PF letterheads and confirmed by the provincial leadership in Mashonaland West, clearly show that his charges originated in February.
Kindness Paradza, Zanu PF secretary for administration, this month wrote to Musengi listing his alleged transgressions and the measures that the party would take against him.
“Further to my letter which I wrote to you on February 24, 2014 and your subsequent response dated March 20 2014, please be advised that the provincial executive council at its meeting on March 28, 2014 resolved to refer your matter to the provincial committee for a hearing.
“Therefore in terms of article 10, section 74, subsection (1) of the Zanu PF Constitution, you Vengai Musengi are hereby prohibited, with immediate effect, from carrying out all party activities related to the Zanu PF Provincial Youth league until your matter is finalised,” read part of Paradza’s letter.
Disgruntled Zanu PF officials say the so-called witch-hunting is being used as a smoke screen to hide the truth and place some party officials on a collision course with Mugabe.
Amongst the allegations against Musengi are, leaking confidential party information to the press and misconduct, gross indiscipline and insubordination after disobeying the executive council barring the youth leader from running a separate account from the province’s main account.
Khaya Moyo on Wednesday called upon party officials to stop dragging the First Family’s name into the mud as he gagged officials from conducting party business in the press.
But there is resistance to the move with some youths sympathetic to the Mnangagwa camp defiant.