BRUTAL purges in Zanu PF have resumed and the axe is now hanging over the head of former Cabinet minister Webster Shamu, who is famous for his over-the-top bootlicking of President Robert Mugabe.
Zanu PF Mashonaland West provincial executive committee (PEC), yesterday resolved to boot out former Economic Development minister Sylvester Nguni on allegations of supping with an imminent political outfit, People First (PF), made up of a group of former ruling party stalwarts who say they will challenge President Robert Mugabe in the 2018 elections.
A provincial executive member said the meeting had resolved to recommend the recalling of Nguni as Mhondoro-Mubaira MP.
“The recommendation is now awaiting endorsement by the politburo, but Nguni is now as good as gone and the axe is expected to soon fall on at least four other top officials,” said the official.
But Shamu, who was also a subject of the PEC meeting and is facing similar allegations, has been spared for now but will be continuously assessed, with his fate expected to be sealed soon.
Shamu has been described as the biggest of Mugabe’s bootlickers, who likened the 91-year-old leader to Cremora, a popular powdered milk brand, and even publicly expressed how he wished he was the president’s first born son.
However, Shamu has been discarded just like many of his colleagues accused of supporting ousted Vice-President Joice Mujuru.
He is now an ordinary card-carrying member after he was suspended for three years.
Zanu PF Mashonaland West acting chairman, Ephraim Pepukai Chengeta confirmed the PEC had deliberated over the issue of Shamu and Nguni, but said the official position was set to be announced later.
“Yes, we deliberated on the issue and members raised their concern about the MP [Nguni] but we need to verify some few issues before we give you the official position later this afternoon or tomorrow morning,” Chengeta said.
War veteran provincial vice- chairman Mark Dude replaced Joshua Chakaona in Kadoma district who was slapped with a three-year suspension for allegedly supporting the Mujuru faction.
Zanu PF seems unsure about political moves of fired senior officials Mujuru, Didymus Mutasa and Rugare Gumbo, who announced their intentions to fight Mugabe in 2018.
The party has fired and recalled several MPs for allegedly working with Mujuru.
Shamu refused to comment over the matter, while Nguni’s phone went unanswered.
“I don’t discuss issues of my party Zanu PF through the media. I follow the laid-down party procedures and it’s not for me to comment on what you are asking,” he said.
Heaping Mugabe with praises during his time as Zanu PF political commissar, Shamu once said: “Gushungo, people say you have Cremora, the whole body. The war the world over, President its about you. They fear you and that is why they are doing all this.”
Gumbo, the PF spokesperson told The Standard yesterday that such witch-hunts were a sign of panic.
He said PF would welcome anyone who wanted to work with them though they would not entertain opportunists.
“They are afraid and will deal with anyone who they think is sympathetic to us,” Gumbo said.
“However, if they want to join us, it’s really their decision to come.
“They have to know what they want and if they want to come to us then they are welcome. We are building a formidable thing.
““People are eager to join us and they are welcome. We do not, however, want opportunists.”
Meanwhile, Zanu PF spokesperson, Simon Khaya-Moyo said the party was still waiting to receive an official report of the factional fights in Manicaland where knives are out, with rival factions claiming control of the province.
Manicaland has been dogged by serious infighting and last week the provincial women’s league passed a vote of no confidence in its chairperson, Happiness Nyakuedzwa before the move was overturned with the assistance of national executive member Monica Mutsvangwa a few days later.
On the day it was reversed, another group — led by Nokuthula Matsikanyere — burnt the midnight oil in meetings and went ahead to reaffirm that Nyakuedzwa remained ousted.
“Zanu PF has a very clear constitution and structures. The leadership in Manicaland knows the process,” Khaya-Moyo said.
“Once such reports reach the relevant authority then action will be taken.
“You can’t act before getting a report. We should get a report first. The commissariat will be looking into the matter.”
As the battle to succeed 91-year-old Mugabe intensifies, two distinct groups have reportedly emerged, with one linked to Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa and another rallying behind First Lady Grace Mugabe, allegedly under the Generation 40 banner.
Infighting is expected to reach a crescendo before the party’s December conference slated for Victoria Falls amid reports that there was a push to make some constitutional amendments to favour one of the factions.
“There are plans to push for the ascendancy of Amai [Grace] beyond her current position of secretary for women’s league. This will only happen through amending the constitution. Manicaland province is on the forefront of that move,” said a Zanu PF official who requested anonymity.
“Provinces such as Harare and Mashonaland Central will follow suit and call for some constitutional amendments.
“Of course it will be difficult but that doesn’t mean it is not possible. Lobbying will be starting soon.”
Under the Zanu PF constitution, the country should have a woman vice-president but Mugabe trashed the clause after the fall-out with his former deputy Mujuru last year.
Although it was not clear what the amendments will look like, they are meant to push Grace for the VP post which will make her a serious contender in the succession war, sources said.
Grace has repeatedly indicated she was not interested in the presidency as she wanted to concentrate on her duties as the women’s league boss.
In the past two weeks she addressed rallies in Chimanimani and Rushinga where Vice-President Phelekezela Mphoko all but confirmed Grace was in charge.STANDARD