HARARE - President Robert Mugabe yesterday rubbed salt into the gaping wounds of the Zanu PF faction that is rallying behind embattled Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa when he fired War Veterans minister Christopher Mutsvangwa from his Cabinet team.
Mutsvangwa and his wife Monica were among the nearly two dozen Zanu PF bigwigs, who are linked to the Midlands godfather’s mooted presidential aspirations, who were booted out of the ruling party last Thursday.
Well-placed Zanu PF sources who spoke to the Daily News on Sunday’s sister paper, the Daily News, revealed then that the power couple would also lose their ministerial positions.
The insiders also suggested that the latest pummelling to befall Team Lacoste (Mnangagwa’s faction), meant that it was “all over bar the shouting” for the beleaguered camp in its wilting quest to get the Midlands godfather to succeed Mugabe.
Mutsvangwa was yesterday replaced by his deputy Tshinga Dube as the new War Veterans minister — as the ruthless demolition of Team Lacoste continues unabated — who promised to work towards uniting the country’s divided war veterans.
“I am feeling great. In actual fact I am very humbled that the president has put so much trust in me, I didn’t expect that ... and when I came here I didn’t think I was coming to be appointed.
“I thought he (Mugabe) wanted me to brief him on certain issues. So, I was very delighted to see that I was appointed as a minister,” Dube said, adding that it was very likely that the meeting that bickering war veterans want to have with Mugabe would not happen this week.
“We have 34 000 war veterans but we can’t bring all those people to Harare. So, we still have to get some delegations from these people and know if His Excellency says he will be ready for them this coming week … but it might as well be postponed until preparations are properly done,” he said.
Dube also said he would not be supporting any war veterans’ faction, but would work towards bringing them together and empowering them.
In addition to suspending the now fired Mutsvangwa and his wife from the party for three years last Thursday, the former liberation movement also summarily expelled from within its ranks 14 youth leaders — including Godfrey Gomwe, Godfrey Tsenengamu, Vengai Musengi and Edmore Samambwa.
Addressing the media just after the politburo had met and dealt with scores of disciplinary cases that had been brought before it by the national disciplinary committee, spokesperson Simon Khaya Moyo revealed that more than 20 officials had been banished from the party.
“All in all, nine cases were presented and extensively discussed by the politburo. Three people were suspended for three years.
“I will start with Mashonaland West where Chris Mutsvangwa has been suspended and therefore must not hold any position in the party for the same period, but remains a member of the party and a Member of Parliament.
“In Midlands, Espinah Nhari also lost her position in the women’s league. She was secretary for administration and also has been suspended for three years.
“Monica Mutsvangwa lost her position in the women’s league and is suspended for three years. We also have Rosewita Chinyaure, I’m not sure of her province, who has been expelled from the party. Another one expelled is Taurai Pasirayi,” Khaya Moyo said.
While Mnangagwa did not attend the meeting to witness the brutal demolition job on his support base first hand, as he was said to be out of the country, his protégé, Mutsvangwa — who has been a member of the politburo — immediately left the meeting in disgust after his suspension was announced.
“Seven provincial youth chairmen were expelled from the party for gross indiscipline and misconduct and these are Godfrey Tsenengamu (Mashonaland Central), Godwin Gomwe (Harare province), Vengai Musengi (Mashonaland West), Khumbulani Mpofu (Bulawayo), Edmore Samambwa (Midlands), Tamuka Nyoni (Matabeleland North) and Washington Nkomo (Matabeleland South).
“Another seven youth leaders representing associations aligned to Zanu PF have also been expelled from the party for indiscipline and misconduct and these are Tonderai Chidawa (Zicosu), Norest Makururu (Youth in mining organisation), Collen Machingura (youth in farming), Memory Masengu (youth against sanctions), Absalom Mabuse (youth service graduates association), Gabriel Togarepi (Ziliwaco Trust) and Innocent Mhlanga (children of war veterans,” he added.