by Elias Mambo
Zanu PF political commissar Saviour Kasukuwere — a key member of the ruling party’s Generation 40 (G40) faction, which has vowed to derail Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s ascendancy to the presidency — has written a letter to President Robert Mugabe recommending the dissolution of the Midlands provincial co-ordinating committee and the suspension of the vice-president’s key allies including his right hand man July Moyo.
The development comes at a time sources revealed the G40 faction, which has coalesced around First Lady Grace Mugabe, is planning to take the succession war to Mnangagwa’s doorstep as a strategy to disable him and stop him from consolidating outside his province.
Other than Moyo, Kasukuwere also recommended the suspension of Justice Mayor Wadyajena (youth secretary for administration in the Midlands province), Owen Mudha Ncube (secretary for security in the Midlands province) and Edmore Samambwa (youth provincial chairman).
Kasukuwere’s recommendations came after three ministers from the province — Makhosini Hlongwane, Tapiwa Matangaidze and Annastacia Ndhlovu — who are also linked to G40, wrote a letter to the national commissar and Vice-President Phelekezela Mphoko complaining of harassment at the hands of Mnangagwa’s backers.
The letter, seen by the Zimbabwe Independent was written in December and states that the officials were pushing Mnangagwa’s presidential agenda.
“The purpose of this report is to provide you with a synopsis of the disturbances that are rocking our party Zanu PF in the Midlands province,” reads the letter.
“The disturbances in Midlands are being caused by rogue elements who are pursuing what they term Mnangagwa’s team Lacoste agenda.
“The elements, led by Owen Mudha Ncube and Justice Wadyajena, are causing divisions in the province to the extent that the recently appointed ministers from the Midlands province namely Tapiwa Matangaidze, Makhosini Hlongwane and Annastacia Ndhlovu, are under serious harassment and abuse since their appointments.”
In the letter Kasukuwere also says he has tried to resolve the Midlands crisis but has been unsuccessful.
“Having received the complaints and discussed with the ministers I wrote to the provincial chairperson Kizito Chivamba inviting him for a meeting on December 7. I requested that he advises politburo colleagues Simbarashe Mumbengegwi, Jorum Gumbo and Tsitsi Muzenda,” wrote Kasukuwere.
“The aim of the meeting was to inform the politburo members about the serious concerns and complaints we had received from the trio.
“However on Monday, December 7, Gumbo delivered a letter from the provincial chairperson. The chairman indicated that he would want to consult his seniors and that the province would want to handle the matter on their own.
“On December 9 the Midlands province leadership finally attended the meeting.
“All members agreed that most of the problems in the Midlands province were being caused by individuals led by Ncube and Wadyajena. Members were in consensus that the comrades need to be disciplined by the party.”
Kasukuwere also stated his observations and proposed a way forward.
“It is important to note that there are deep-seated differences in the province and attempts to undermine the authority of the President while being spearheaded by the youths headed by Ncube, Wadyajena and Samambwa, the reality is that July Moyo is the key architect of the strategies in the Midlands province,” he wrote.
“July Moyo has a record of working for VP Mnangagwa to ascend to the presidency. He was instrumental in the Tsholotsho saga and has worked with the former youth chairpersons namely Godfrey Tsenengamu, Godwin Gomwe, Vengi Musengi, Khumbulani Mlilo and current youth chairpersons Samambwa and Washington Nkomo in destabilising provinces and advancing the VP Mnangagwa’s group interests.”
Kasukuwere then concludes his letter by proposing that: “We dissolve the province and replace it with an interim team and suspend July Moyo, Ncube, Wadyajena and Samambwa.”
Gumbo, who confirmed meeting Kasukuwere, however said the political commissar was offside by prescribing solutions to Midlands.
“I met Kasukuwere in his office because we were supposed to hold a central committee meeting on the day. I was in the company of Mumbengegwi and Muzenda. I found him sitting with Hlongwane, Matangaidze and Ndhlovu. It was then that I advised him that the issue cannot be discussed in the absence of the accused,” Gumbo said.
“I have not received a copy of his letter to the president but if that is what he has written then he is off-side because he cannot prescribe a decision of suspending and dissolving the province without the accused being given a chance to respond. “We have told him already that Midlands is seized with that issue and tomorrow (Saturday) a hearing will take place where the accused and the respondents will present their case.
“Midlands is known for supporting only President Robert Mugabe and the president knows very well that it was Midlands which stood by him when the MDC claimed to have won the elections in 2008. All these are other provinces ran away so it is not true that Midlands undermines the authority of the President.”
Gumbo also said Zanu PF had clear procedures to handle disciplinary issues and that it was unacceptable for a person to fire and suspend others without hearing their side of view.
“If the accused are found guilty then that is when a decision will be made. The respondents also need to bring their evidence to sustain their claims. This is a simple issue which is being blown out of proportion,” he said.