ZANU PF yesterday wielded the axe and suspended Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s four top allies in Masvingo and Midlands provinces, amid speculation that the purge was meant to weaken him in his perceived strongholds ahead of the ruling party’s extraordinary congress slated for December this year.
The four — Masvingo provincial chairman Ezra Chadzamira, provincial youth league political commissar Brian Munyoro, Midlands acting vice-chairman Godwin Shiri and provincial youth secretary for administration Justice Mayor Wadyajena — were suspended over a litany of allegations that include disrespecting the party leadership and fanning divisions in the two provinces.
In suspension letters dated October 25 and signed by party national commissar Saviour Kasukuwere, the quartet was ordered to immediately relinquish their party duties.
“You are hereby served with prohibition order and notice of charges in terms of section 79 of the (Zanu PF) constitution,” the letter to Chadzamira read.
“Be pleased to take note that the effect of the prohibition order and notice of charges is to suspend you forthwith from your position as provincial chairman for Masvingo province.
“The prohibition order is based on serious allegations of gross indiscipline levelled against you which the party has received.”
The letter was copied to party secretary for administration Ignatius Chombo, legal affairs secretary and national disciplinary committee chairman Patrick Chinamasa and party secretary for education Joram Gumbo.
Similar letters were sent to Wadyajena, Shiri and Munyoro. They are expected to appear before the party’s national disciplinary committee on a date yet to be announced.
Chadzamira was accused of inciting tribal hatred in Masvingo, churning hate speech against other party members, indulging in cheap gossip and lies deemed as causing divisions in the province, uttering public statements that are disrespectful of the party leadership, making slogans that denigrate party leadership and failing to smoothly run the province.
He assumed chairmanship early this year after spending close to two years on suspension from the same post.
The suspended officials are believed to be Mnangagwa’s strong allies and stand accused of clandestinely campaigning for him to succeed President Robert Mugabe.
Chadzamira and Munyoro are alleged to have been part of a group that claimed that Mnangagwa was poisoned with ice-cream from the First Family’s Gushungo Dairies.
In mid-August this year, Mnangagwa had to leave Mugabe’s youth interface rally in Gwanda abruptly following a suspected food poisoning scar on him.
He was airlifted to South Africa for treatment with his backers claiming the poisoning was part of a plot to physically eliminate him from the ruling party’s fluid succession race.
Mugabe and his wife First Lady Grace took offence after they were implicated in the alleged assassination plot, and publicly challenged Mnangagwa to denounce the claims and clear the air over the poisoning saga.
Mnangagwa compounded his fallout with the First Family when he insinuated in a speech at the late Masvingo Provincial Affairs minister Shuvai Mahofa’s memorial service that he had miraculously survived a poisoning attack.
This came shortly after Mugabe had addressed a youth rally in Gweru and dismissed the poisoning scare as a myth.
Wadyajena then waded into the debate on social media platform Twitter, accusing G40 members of poisoning Mnangagwa, whom he described as his political godfather. Wadyajena’s charge sheet include promoting social media gossip.-NEWSDAY