Zanu PF's night of the long knives

HARARE – On Thursday, Rugare Gumbo began his working day as the spokesperson of the ruling Zanu PF party, but 12 hours later he had been stripped of his position by none other than President Robert Mugabe.

And through Gushungo’s edict, Gumbo will once again have to endure the next five years in the political wilderness, a virtual replay of the anguish that he suffered while in exile in Mozambique in the late 1970s.

As the affable liberation war veteran left the politburo meeting venue last night, he spoke to none of the assembled journalists who were circling around the venue like vultures.

The politburo meeting, that began at around 2pm, lasted well into the night — and when nature called, as it sometimes does, politburo members scamper between the boardroom and the toilets without availing themselves to the gathered news hounds.

Earlier when President Robert Mugabe walked into the boardroom, just after lunch, all the men and women in attendance stood up to welcome him, while he affably greeted everyone, including Gumbo — the man he was to guillotine later.

Makadii Madyira (How are you Madyira),” Mugabe asked a smiling Gumbo, who also pleasantly returned the seemingly warm greeting from the president.

But those niceties proved to be merely a small part of the calm before the storm.

To use Obert Mpofu’s words, inside the politburo when the doors had been closed, the place was “burning”.

As reporters waited patiently for Gumbo to come and brief journalists, as he has done for the past few years, he did not appear.

And when he was accosted by reporters when he went to the toilet at around 8pm, he only said “tichigere kupedza (we are not finished)” and returned to the politburo perhaps for the last time in his life.

A panoramic view of Harare from the 14th floor of the Zanu PF headquarters, although beautiful, did not seem good enough for restive journalists, who kept following politburo members whenever they went into the toilet.

Just before 10pm, Edson Chakanyuka, the deputy youth league chairperson told reporters that he had moved the motion to have Gumbo relieved of his duties and triumphantly declared that the former Dare ReChimurenga member had been suspended.

Reporters recoiled at the statement and dismissed the youth leader’s utterances as poppycock, but moments later, Gumbo left the boardroom and Josiah Hungwe confirmed that Madyira had indeed been suspended.

Sources say when Gumbo left he just said “saka ini ndoendaka (I’m leaving)” and that was the end of an era.

The reticent Sydney Sekeramayi followed and a few minutes later David Parirenyatwa, the Health minister, also appeared asking for food.

Saviour Kasukuwere and Patrick Zhuwao soon emerged looking visibly ecstatic about the outcome of the meeting, but refused to speak to the media, sarcastically referring questions to Madyira, whom they knew had been suspended.

At the end, and after a long wait, Simon Khaya Moyo, the party national chairperson came to address the media and confirmed that Gumbo had indeed been suspended. He did not give the reasons for the dramatic development.

The veteran nationalist, who has endured a love-hate relationship with Mugabe, could have recalled the words he said in 1980 when he described 90-year-old Gushungo as a “vindictive leader”.

“When we were detained, Mugabe would come to see us in the pits where we were kept like animals. He would laugh at us, taunt us, we were tortured. He laughed. He enjoyed seeing us suffering,” Madyira said then.

He might as well also have said it on Thursday night.

Comments (1)

Readable Well written article Fungi

Tengenenge - 15 November 2014

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