HARARE - With Zanu PF’s factional and succession wars stubbornly refusing to go away, the Daily News has learnt that many perceived sympathisers of former vice president Joice Mujuru are, at least for now, concentrating their efforts on farming as they desperately endeavour to evade the ruling party’s increasingly anarchic politics.
This information emerged yesterday as Zanu PF battles more mindless bloodletting in the Matabeleland provinces, with police having to be called to a Matabeleland South provincial coordinating committee meeting in Gwanda to quell disturbances that had erupted there.
The chaos ensued after prominent party members, who were “suspended” ahead of the party’s damp squib “elective” congress in Harare late last year, somehow attended the tense meeting and later flatly refused to leave the gathering when prompted to do so.
Among this group were former regional party spokesperson and Insiza South legislator Malaki Nkomo, Bulilima West legislator Lungisani Nleya, Senator Alma Mkhwebu, former deputy chairperson of the women’s league Clara Langa, and former secretary for lands Jabulani Phetshu Sibanda.
These members lost their party positions after they were accused of working with Mujuru to oust President Robert Mugabe from power, leading to controversial votes of no confidence being passed against them.
The members only left the meeting reluctantly after police arrived at the venue and forced them out, amid their loud protestations that although it had been reported that they had been suspended, they had not been presented with any documents to either indicate or confirm the alleged suspensions.
And as this chaos was playing itself out, the anarchy devouring Zanu PF’ in Matabeleland North province continued unabated, amid reports that new party commissar Saviour Kasukuwere is set to visit the region this week to try and resolve the worsening infighting there, after five members from Hwange were “suspended” for allegedly participating in demonstrations during an accreditation exercise ahead of the December congress.
It is under this climate that Mujuru and her perceived sympathisers — having been booted out of their party and government positions in a brutal purge fronted by Mugabe, his wife Grace and hardline supporters of Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa — appear to have taken the nonagenarian’s exhortations to heart that they concentrate on farming instead of trying to resist their removal from power.
Most of the affected party bigwigs are multiple beneficiaries of the government’s chaotic land reform programme.
Mujuru herself, who has vowed not to leave Zanu PF, is reportedly leading the pack and “happily” knuckling down at her Beatrice farm — with the former party and government number two telling the Daily News recently that she was enjoying “farming and family”.
Former party spokesperson Rugare Gumbo also confirmed to the Daily News yesterday that he was taking a break from “vicious politics” and is ploughing his energy into farming.
“I am into farming. Although I did not plant on a very large scale because of the late rains, I hope to get something from farming and contribute to the country,” Gumbo said.
Munacho Mutezo, the former deputy minister of Energy and Power Development also said that he had gone full throttle into farming.
“I am doing farming now although I am on holiday at the moment with my family,” Mutezo said.
Tongai Muzenda, the former deputy minister of Labour and son to the late vice president Simon Muzenda, also said he would focus his energies on farming.
“I am currently at home relaxing with my family and going through my personal files as I have been into mining as I worked at Anglo American and Fiasco before I joined politics.
“However, I am also doing farming in my constituency. I have been farming since childhood with my parents and I will continue to do so.
“However, I will not quit politics as I was born in politics. My parents were in politics before I was born. It runs in the family,” Muzenda added.
Aquallinah Katsande, the former Zanu PF Mashonaland East provincial chairwoman and Mudzi West MP, said she was deriving a lot of joy from farming.
“I am growing maize and groundnuts at my plot in the constituency. This is the season for farming and everyone is into farming.
“I also know that my other colleagues who include Mabel Kaundikiza (Mashonaland East proportional representative) are also doing farming.
“I know that some newspapers are lying that Kaukonde has fled the country and it is not true as he is doing his farming in the country in this province,” Katsande said.
Another Zanu PF heavyweight Simbaneuta Mudarikwa, the former Mashonaland East provincial minister and MP for Uzumba said, “I am doing farming and running my other businesses in the province”.
Enock Porusingazi, who was suspended from the party, also told the Daily News that he was farming in Chipinge and that he hoped to help the country achieve food self-sufficiency in line with ZimAsset.
But former deputy Health minister Paul Chimedza said he had returned to his medical profession.
“I am back at my surgery as I am a medical doctor and attending to my patients. But I am also focusing at developing my constituency,” he said.
Mugabe in his typical and dead-pan humorous way told party delegates at last December’s party congress that Mujuru and her allies should not be short of things to do once they were ejected from their senior party and government positions.
“They will have more time to do their farming, to grow maize and potatoes,” Mugabe said.