Minister stages 'palace coup'

HARARE - Recently appointed Masvingo Provincial Affairs minister Paul Chimedza has staged a bloodless palace coup by making himself the Zanu PF deputy chair in the volatile Masvingo Province in the wake of a power vacuum occasioned by the purported suspensions of top allies of Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa in the fractious region.

Chimedza is being linked to the Generation 40 (G40) faction, fighting tooth and nail for the control of Masvingo province — presently dominated by allies of the embattled vice president, collectively known as Team Lacoste.

Mnangagwa’s allies allege the Provincial Affairs minister convened a private function at his government offices at Benjamin Burombo Building in the ancient city on Monday, ostensibly to celebrate his appointment by President Robert Mugabe as the region’s top civil servant, last month.

In the course of the function, he allegedly imposed himself as the party’s deputy chair in the province, stoking nasty exchanges between the rival factions that are fighting for recognition ahead of Zanu PF’s extraordinary congress next month.

As far as G40 faction is concerned, Amasa Nenjana is the interim chairman, deputised by Chimedza.

The standoff was triggered by the suspension of Team Lacoste functionaries in the Midlands and Masvingo provinces on allegations fanning factionalism.

This follows the suspension of Ezra Chadzamira from the chairmanship of Masvingo, along with provincial youth league political commissar, Brian Munyoro, by national political commissar Saviour Kasukuwere, last week Friday.

In the Midlands, acting vice-chairperson Godwin Shiri and provincial youth secretary for administration, Justice Mayor Wadyajena, were also suspended by Kasukuwere, seen by the Team Lacoste group as an irritant.

On Monday, the two provinces – the bastions of power for Mnangagwa – held provincial executive committee meetings where they rubbished Kasukuwere’s purported suspensions, saying they were ultra vires the party’s constitution.

Section 262(c) of the party’s constitution states that any member holding office in any organ at any level of the party who has been found guilty of violating the party’s principles shall be liable to disciplinary action by the same organ.

Section 265 says a motion of no confidence shall be moved against the member and can only stand if it has the affirmative vote of at least two thirds of the provincial executive membership, after which the case is brought to the national disciplinary committee, which will then make recommendations to the politburo for the final verdict.

The politburo will then submit its decision to the central committee for ratification.

The Masvingo executive went on to pass a vote of no confidence on provincial political commissar, Jappy Jaboon, a G40 functionary. But no sooner had they been reinstated, the G40 faction named a new provincial structure led by Nenjana and deputised by Chimedza.

Chimedza, a former deputy minister of Health and Child Care Chimedza, declined to comment on the latest development. He said on Wednesday: “For now, I will focus on the job at hand and will not comment on any other issues you guys might raise”.

Masvingo provincial spokesperson, Ronald Ndava, accused Chimedza of attempting to stage a palace coup and vowed the Chadzamira-led executive was the legitimate one with the mandate to spearhead preparations for the forthcoming special congress.

He alleged Chimedza had a private meeting at his offices to celebrate his appointment at which he imposed himself as the deputy chair.

“He (Chimedza) then went on to summon people to his boardroom and they staged a coup and made appointments. They put Nenjana as the chairperson,” he said.

“We have people who don’t know the structure of the party, mixing government business with party issues, but that is a nullity and we will not recognise it. As things stand, the executive is led by Chadzamira.... all these shenanigans are being done by people suffering from a hangover. We are fed up with people who do not know anything about democracy, sometimes we should not stoop to their level. But let them be warned they should use the proper channels,” said Ndava.

Midlands provincial spokesperson Cornelius Mupereri launched a veiled attack on the G40 faction saying there were some people in the region who have developed the habit of taking things straight to the top without following the laid down procedures.

“We are as we were, they are some people who wanted to create parallel structures and displace (an elected executive) but we will not allow that. They were going straight to the national leadership but we have since dealt with them,” Mupereri told the Daily News.

Concerned party insiders fear what is happening in the two provinces could be a precursor towards a full blown blitz aimed at weeding out Mnangagwa’s allies nationwide ahead of next month’s extraordinary congress.

They reckon that a similar strategy was used to deal with Mnangagwa’s predecessor, Joice Mujuru, who was kicked out of Zanu PF along with a host of her followers, leading up to the December 2014 congress.

Although he denies it, Mnangagwa reportedly fronts a Zanu PF camp known as Team Lacoste, which dominates the two restive provinces.

Mnangagwa’s reported presidential aspirations are being vehemently opposed by the G40 camp to which Kasukuwere belongs.

Zanu PF spokesperson, Simon Khaya Moyo, issued a stern warning on Tuesday, reminding members to act within the confines of the party’s constitution.

While he was still to receive a report from the commissariat, Khaya-Moyo said members should follow the constitution, which sets the procedure to be followed in suspending members.

“We have processes in the party, we have a constitution that is supreme and we believe in the constitution that is supreme. We have a secretary for legal affairs who interprets the legal matters and we do not do things as they are currently doing,” he told the Daily News.

Political scientist, Ibbo Mandaza, said the ructions in the two provinces raise serious ethnic questions that require Mugabe’s leadership to navigate carefully.

Mandaza said the ruling party must adopt a softly-softly approach in trying to contain the fallout and do damage control so that the skirmishes do not become an overt ethnic issue.

“I am sure there is going to be a compromise somewhere,” said Mandaza.

Eldred Masunungure, a professor of political science at the University of Zimbabwe, opined that the two provinces were seeking to register their discontentment rather than trying to change the course of events since they are clearly outnumbered.

“I think their protestations are mainly meant to send a message that they are being treated harshly and unfairly. It’s that message that they want to convey and convey forcefully; that we are not going to accept that unfair treatment,” said Masunungure.

Political commentator, Rashweat Mukundu, said Masvingo and the Midlands provinces were fighting a losing battle.

“Masvingo and Midlands are literally provinces standing in Mnangagwa’s corner. There could be more suspensions or outright dismissals. I think we are seeing the last breath of Team Lacoste unless their dying kick is so massive as to fell G40,” he said.

In terms of the party’s constitution, any sanction of a provincial executive member has to emanate from the provincial structures.

    Comments (4)

    And there was I thinking my Manfred Hodson roome Chimedza has grown up now. Sweetest power is derived from the people. Chadzamira has won elections three times...see how peaceful he sleeps

    Rihanna - 3 November 2017

    Chimedza and Muzembi being used by the Zezuru unconquerables aginst their own brothers. And such young men tying their political future, even their own future in Zimbabwe, to Dr Amai's peticoat shows how shallow minded they are

    Tengenenge - 3 November 2017

    The Lacoste guys are cornered in only two provinces.The strategy is to keep them on their toes defending only two provinces , until election time when they will not have cultivated further support in all the other provinces. They should wake up and find ways of navigating further beyond their own home ground. Poor political souls!

    Cde in DIASPORA - 3 November 2017

    Palace - where ? In Masvingo ?

    ace mukadota - 4 November 2017

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