HARARE - Rugare Gumbo, the Zanu PF spokesperson, has contemptuously dismissed the purported ousting of Mashonaland West provincial chairperson Temba Mliswa saying it’s a “shame and a sign of desperation” by one faction.
Ignatius Chombo, a Mashonaland West politburo member, was quoted in the State media claiming that the politburo, Zanu PF’s highest decision-making body outside congress, had upheld the suspension of Mliswa.
But Gumbo said in a statement the matter will only be debated, endorsed or rejected when the politburo meets this week.
Zanu PF secretary for legal affairs Emmerson Mnangagwa, national chairperson Simon Khaya Moyo and Gumbo yesterday deliberated on the matter and agreed that Mliswa’s fate will only be discussed on Thursday when the politburo meets.
“The official party position pertaining to the Mashonaland West provincial chairman Cde Temba Mliswa remains that the so-called vote-of-no-confidence in Cde Mliswa continues to be a matter which the party’s disciplinary committee is seized with,” Gumbo said, adding that “any claim to the contrary must be dismissed as sinister, divisive and plainly factional.”
In the deadly war of attrition to succeed President Robert Mugabe, who will be 91 in four months’ time, vice president Joice Mujuru and Mnangagwa reportedly lead rival factions.
And as the December congress looms, Mujuru’s rivals have been clandestinely plotting to weed out chairpersons seen as loyal to her so as to undermine her.
Mliswa, who is related to Zanu PF secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa, is linked to the so-called Mujuru faction.
Although some party officials from Mashonaland West have passed a vote-of-no-confidence in Mliswa on charges of being divisive, Gumbo said only the party’s disciplinary committee has the final say.
“People might harbour certain selfish and factional agendas but rules are rules and we expect them to be followed to the letter — whether such rules are politically expedient or not,” Gumbo said.
“Otherwise what these elements are doing amounts to the gross undermining of the role not just of the politburo as the most sacred and essential organ of the party but also of my office and position as the party’s spokesperson.”
He added that it “is shocking that senior party officials who know or ought reasonably to know of the existence of these basic and elementary rules of procedure are in fact completely and utterly ignorant of what needs to be done. It’s a shame and a sign that desperation has really reached unprecedented and shameful levels,” said Gumbo.