By Fungi Kwaramba
Zanu PF’s ugly tribal, factional and succession wars have once again taken an ominous turn — with Mashonaland Central regional minister, Martin Dinha, saying yesterday that he had received death threats from his party foes.
The alleged threats come days after Dinha publicly called for the expulsion, from the burning ruling party, of under-fire national political commissar, Saviour Kasukuwere, and his brother Dickson Mafios.
Dinha, who is currently in Dubai, told the Daily News yesterday that he had received the death threats via his mobile phones.
“First they (his Zanu PF enemies) manufactured a statement purporting that it was mine . . . and now they are sending threats to kill me on my roaming lines.
“A female and a male called me and said usada kufira mahara (don’t die for nothing) using private numbers. They said ‘you have a family, be careful what you say’,” Dinha claimed further — adding that he would make a formal report to the police as soon as he returned back home.
He also moved to distance himself from a statement which circulated on social media this week, amid claims that it was authored by him, and which defended Kasukuwere and Mafios — who were rocked by demonstrations in their home province on Monday.
Although once linked to ousted former vice president and now leader of the opposition National People’s Party (NPP), Joice Mujuru, Dinha is now said to be very close to the first family — a development that his associates claim has displeased some party bigwigs.
In 2015, Dinha also received an AK47 bullet and a threatening message telling him to step down or risk suffering the same fatal fate that befell the late Zanu PF political commissar, Elliot Manyika — who died in a suspicious car accident in 2008.
Well-placed Zanu PF sources told the Daily News at the time that “the parcel” with the bullet and threatening message was delivered to the minister’s office just after midnight — forcing the lawyer-turned-politician, a lightweight in Zanu PF, to go into hiding”.
Dinha has also previously survived several other attempts to oust him from his ministerial post.
Worryingly for warring Zanu PF bigwigs, this is not the first time that a minister has received death threats. Last year, two Cabinet ministers also received death threats as the former liberation movement’s seemingly unstoppable ructions become more intractable.
Earlier last year, Sports minister Makhosini Hlongwane found a bullet in his hotel room in Harare. The bullet had been placed on a headboard in the room.
This happened at a time when Zanu PF had ordered its Midlands province to conduct hearings against provincial leaders who stood accused then of threatening Hlongwane and two other ministers.
Indigenisation minister Patrick Zhuwao — who is also Mugabe’s nephew — has also received death threats related to his public criticism of Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa and his supporters in the run-up to Zanu PF’s annual conference which was held in Masvingo late last year.
Despite the threats to him, Dinha yesterday reiterated his call for Zanu PF leaders to deal decisively with Kasukuwere and Mafios.
“I have been briefed about the peaceful demonstration by Zanu PF party activists, and rank and file members against Kasukuwere and acting provincial chairperson Mafios and others in their alleged G40 (Generation 40) cabal.
“The demonstration was a legitimate expression of people’s grievances and is acceptable in a democratic state such as our Zimbabwe.
“The grievances against Kasukuwere and Mafios and their cabal are serious, and warrant the principal, president Mugabe, to take special note, and the party to take appropriate disciplinary action.
“In all honesty, I feel the NPC (national political commissar) and his brother brought this on themselves and they can’t blame me or others or the president and Amai (Grace) Mugabe, as I hear they are now doing.
“They brought into the fray politics of division and factionalism, and regarded everyone with alternative views and opinions as enemies,” Dinha thundered.
“I tried to objectively advise them, and warned them to move away from factionalism and to respect democratic principles … promote unity, peace and development of the province and country.
“My honest advice is for the two and others in their alleged faction to resign and pave way for a mature and principled NPC and provincial chair to take over, who will make us win elections next year.
“You can’t have an NPC, who should be a unifier and mobiliser, who is at odds with everyone in and outside the party. I am not a factionalist and don’t belong to the alleged G40 or Lacoste groups.
“Factionalism to me is anti-revolutionary and a negation of the principles of the liberation struggle. Call me a Mugabeist and Zanu PF cadre and zealot and I will agree.
“I stand firm with Zanu PF and its leader Mugabe. As young people of the post-liberation generation, we must respect the liberators . . . Mugabe and his comrades, as forebears, and limit our ambitions,” Dinha added.
But Mafios strenuously refuted Dinha’s allegations yesterday, saying instead that the minister had an axe to grind with him and Kasukuwere.
He also asserted in an interview with the Daily News that Dinha belonged to the group of people who had held Monday’s demonstration against the brothers on Monday.
“I don’t know what he is raising. I cannot comment further on something that has been put to the politburo,” Mafios said.
On Monday, Kasukuwere suffered the surprising spectacle of witnessing demonstrations against him in his home province, as angry supporters demanded, among other things, that the party recalls him on bizarre charges of attempting to unseat Mugabe.
After the demonstration, the protesters handed a petition to Martin Mavhangira, who is a member of the Zanu PF central committee, for onward transmission to Mugabe, demanding that the nonagenarian fires Kasukuwere from the troubled party.
Zanu PF insiders have previously claimed that Kasukuwere is one of the kingpins of the party’s G40 faction, which is rabidly opposed to Mnangagwa succeeding Mugabe.
The Bindura demonstration against Kasukuwere and Mafios was followed by further gatherings in the Midlands and Masvingo provinces, where several other bigwigs were also targeted, including both serving and former ministers.
The demos also came two weeks after cracks emerged in the influential women’s league which is headed by powerful First Lady Grace Mugabe, which recently expelled two of the wing’s top guns, Eunice Sandi Moyo and the vocal Sarah Mahoka.
The duo resigned from their posts in the key party wing ahead of Wednesday’s politburo meeting in Harare.
Observers have also previously said Mugabe’s failure to resolve Zanu PF’s succession riddle is fuelling the party’s deadly infighting.
The 93-year-old has studiously refused to name a successor, insisting that the party’s congress has that mandate: to choose a person of their own choice. Daily News