Fear grips Mugabe's Zanu PF as purges escalate

HARARE - More heads are set to roll in President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF as its ambitious Young Turks who are known as the Generation 40 (G40) group — of which the party’s national political commissar Saviour Kasukuwere is said to be a leading member — embarks on a fresh wave of purges targeted at their party foes.

Already, the axe has fallen on the party’s acting Harare provincial chairperson Godwills Masimirembwa, while a former close ally of First Lady Grace Mugabe — the notorious Godwin Gomwe — is almost down and out after he was arrested recently on corruption charges.

Masimirembwa only took office a few months ago, after the late substantive provincial leader, Amos Midzi — who died in controversial circumstances earlier this week — was purged from the party on suspicions that he supported former Vice President Joice Mujuru who stood accused last year of plotting to oust and kill Mugabe.

But at the core of the fresh onslaught is the restless G40, a composition of younger politicians with little or no liberation war credentials, which is already planning for life after 91-year-old President Robert Mugabe.

Party insiders told the Daily News last night that the latest wave of purges was directed at dozens of party leaders at district, provincial and national levels across the country, most of whom are deemed to be either pro-Mujuru or “too independent-minded” like Masimirembwa which renders them “problematic” when the party chooses its next leader in the event that Mugabe vacates office.

Under Zanu PF’s amended constitution, party members will vote for Mugabe’s successor through a secret ballot and the G40 stands accused of using the former liberation movement’s current restructuring exercise to purge its detractors and install its members in strategic positions.

“There is chaos in the party at the moment as the G40 is running amok, purging anyone who is seen to be not supportive of their objectives, and the senior party leadership looks powerless to stop them at the moment,” a Harare province official said.

The official claimed that Kasukuwere, buttressed by the powers bestowed on him as the party’s political commissar last year, had “caught other factional leaders in Zanu PF such as (Vice President Emmerson) Mnangagwa flat-footed and is swinging the axe in “ruthless fashion”.

Speaking last month, Kasukuwere vowed to descend on his detractors in the party after Masimirembwa and his executive unsuccessfully tried to put spanners in his mission in Harare East where the ruling party was fielding two candidates, Mavis Gumbo and Terence Mukupe in this week’s by-elections — with the combative Cabinet minister successfully backing the latter candidate.

“I want to appeal to Harare province that those criminals amongst us, we are going to deal with them. It doesn’t matter who you are and who you know or what. This matter of stealing from the people we no longer want it. You make our slogans and steal.

“It cannot be tolerated anymore,” Kasukuwere thundered ominously in apparent reference to Gomwe who has since been arrested.

Another well-placed source who spoke to the Daily News yesterday said Masimirembwa and Gomwe had allegedly been forced to form an alliance after they realised that “they had a common enemy in Kasukuwere and the G40”.

“They had to be purged. There was no way out. On top of that, they tried to create confusion over the Harare East issue which was clear as the sky,” the source seen as close to Kasukuwere said.

Acie Lumumba, an apparent Kasukuwere ally and who has been fingered as one of the main actors in the latest wave of purges in Harare, said yesterday that the ongoing expulsions and demotions were above board.

Lumumba has been moving around with Kasukuwere.

“It is very clear who carried out the purges. One thing you can trust of Zanu PF is that it has a functioning system. Gomwe was removed by the youth league and likewise Masimirembwa by the provincial executive.

“It’s not who played what role to remove them but it’s what they did to be removed. Gomwe wore shoes that his small feet could never fit. He abused and misused the First Family’s name and broke the trust of the youths.

“On the other hand, Masimirembwa was just the simple case of the lights being on but there was no one at home. The man just never had it together from the day he entered that office and his executive got fed up and got rid of him.

“The reason why people saw a lot of me is that we had elections in Harare and my role was to support the party and the victory we have attained,” Lumumba said.

The post-congress Zanu PF is currently divided into two major camps, one allegedly led by Mnangagwa and the other by Kasukuwere — with both heavyweights allegedly tussling for “the ultimate throne” after Mugabe.

Another source sympathetic to Kasukuwere said it made “a lot of sense for the young generation to take control”.

“It is important to fuse fresh blood into the structures. Not all positions will go to the young generation but look you can’t ignore youths. There is nothing wrong with young people taking leadership positions at cell, branch, ward or district levels.”

Kasukuwere, who is also sometimes referred to as Obama by other Young Turks, in apparent reference to Barack Obama who defied all odds to become the first black president of the United States, is said to harbour ambitions for higher office — a move that has put him in the firing line of senior colleagues.

Members of the G40 and its alleged think-tank, the Gang of Four, that once also allegedly included Mugabe’s nephew Patrick Zhuwao, Information minister Jonathan Moyo and Higher Education minister Oppah Muchinguri worked with Grace to mastermind the toppling of Mujuru from power, as they saw the popular widow of liberation war icon General Solomon Mujuru as a stumbling block to their ambitions.

But no sooner had Mujuru fallen than Zanu PF split into two distinct and bitterly-opposed formations — with one initially led by Mnangagwa but also fragmenting, and the other by disaffected liberation struggle stalwarts who now operate as the “original” Zanu PF that uses the slogan “People First”.

The ambitious Young Turks have apparently roped in co-Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko to counter Mnangagwa, in a bid to advance their ambitions.

One of the party insiders told the Daily News last month that the Young Turks  had realised that “they needed more ammunition to thwart Ngwena (Mnangagwa)”, hence the incorporation of Mphoko in their alleged plot.

With Mugabe now old and frail, in addition to being seized with regional matters as chairperson of both Sadc and the African Union — his two deputies, Mphoko and Mnangagwa, have been slugging it out of late, battling for supremacy.


Comments (9)

At this rate even Mugabe wacho akutotya kudzingwa muZanu

chandigere - 12 June 2015

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Hope they keep on fighting like that. Zanu yaparara!!

gift - 12 June 2015

I am shocked that the fighting is so bloodless! Teurai ropa vakomana. Midzi's blood is too little. Im really disappointed

Phaphamani - 12 June 2015

Wait until the Americans start hitting them for the man-slaughter basis in Manicaland. Remember whether true or falls Americans hit kill and record videos (for fun really) of the massacres of those who threaten their own business. Even Shiri will hide in caves when bombings start. You ain't seen nothing young Turks. Ask Lybians and Iraqis. Jongwe kuchekwa musoro maningi!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Mupandawana - 12 June 2015

Does Mugabe know all this is happening around him? I wonder what he thinks when, as a 91 year-old, he hears the Young Turds say leadership needs young blood.

Tom Berrenger - 13 June 2015

Kasukuwere ita musambo wako uchiziva kuti mangwana unogona kushaya usati wapedza rwiyo rwako. Ita hako hako asi uchapananzva pasi apa.

Chitsiga - 13 June 2015

Muchamama mazanu pf manga majaira kutora zvinhu zvisi zvenyu hezvoko muchaona kuti very soon Tsvangirai anotonga pasina kana kurwisana ,hezvoko MDC-t ngatitonge Save and company asingadi ndezvake.

Cde Chomama - 15 June 2015

The so called liberation party is now in turmoil.The true colours of the party are now manifesting.It is dog eat dog.The young turks are gaining ground at the moment and it is not long before they turn against each other and the moment they learn that they are doing ground work for the cunning professor more confusion is expected.

Keke - 16 June 2015

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