|SPORTS Minister Andrew Langa was Thursday fired from government by President Robert Mugabe, becoming the latest Zanu PF top official linked to ousted Vice President Joice Mujuru to bite the dust.
The Insiza North legislator was immediately replaced by former ZBC scribe Makhosini Hlongwane, who only last week was appointed Minister Without Portfolio in yet another cabinet reshuffle by the veteran leader.
Details of Langa’s dismissal were not immediately clear end of business Thursday as President Mugabe’s spokesperson George Charamba was not picking his phone while Langa’s mobile was unreachable.
Information Minister Chris Mushohwe said he is not aware of the development as he is in a meeting.”I will come back to you once I have checked”, he said
Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet Misheck Sibanda confirmed the development without giving further details.
But ousted Zanu PF Mashonaland Central chair Temba Mliswa was quick to link Langa’s ignominious exit from government to the messy Zanu PF power fights which have claimed the scalps of dozens of party bigwigs loyal to Mujuru.
“I have just heard the news and it’s rather sad that a guy who has given a lot to the party, from the youth wing, into the central committee, right into being a minister can be axed on flimsy grounds which most of us have experienced,” Mliswa told NewZimbabwe.com.
“It’s once again retrogression that you see in the party…it also affects the functioning of the government; it affects the welfare of the people.”
Mliswa said Mugabe should instead start targeting Local Government minister and Zanu PF commissar Saviour Kasukuwere who is the “biggest Gamatox”.
“If you talk about pedigree in being Gamatox, you talk of Kasukuwere,” he said.
“He is the chief Gamatox. Why then take out people who are not associated with that. He was the biggest supporter and campaigner for Mai Mujuru.”
The name Gamatox, a common pesticide, was coined by former Zanu PF secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa as a party remedy to deal with so-called weevils, a reference to current Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s loyalists.
A Harare-based political analyst who preferred to remain unnamed on professional grounds said the current Zanu PF purges were the most unprecedented since the Nharira purges during the liberation war.
“Again it brings out the brutal nature of President Mugabe when dealing with any threats to his rule,” said the analyst.
“And this is how he pays him (Langa) for holding forte for Zanu PF in Matebeleland South amidst MDC popularity.”
Langa is among several party provincial chairs who were also ousted towards the controversial Zanu PF congress December last year.
Since the infamous orgy of getting rid of party rivals, President Mugabe has been ditching his comrades in phases with most ministers who were sparred the axe in December finding themselves being thrown out of the gravy train when the storm seemed to have subsided.
Education Minister Lazarus Dokora and his Tourism counterpart Walter Mzembi are also said to be skirting on thin ice as they are also linked to Mujuru.
Hlongwane takes over Langa’s ministry which has now been changed from the ministry of sports, arts and culture to ministry of sports and recreation.