Police had to be called to a Zanu-PF Matabeleland South Provincial Coordinating Committee meeting at the party’s provincial headquarters in Gwanda to chuck out suspended members who had been smuggled into the venue yesterday.
The group, which was suspended in the build-up to last year’s Zanu-PF 6th National People’s Congress, initially refused to leave and only did so after intervention by the police.
Among the group were ousted party spokesperson and Insiza South legislator Malaki Nkomo, Bulilima West legislator Lungisani Nleya, Senator Alma Mkhwebu, ex-deputy chairperson of the women’s league, Clara Langa, ex-secretary for lands Jabulani Phetshu Sibanda, Tafirenyika Seremani and deposed secretary for legal affairs in the youth league, Nkosiyabo Ndlovu.
Nkomo, Langa and Ndlovu were part of the nine members from Insiza District suspended in November last year following a vote of no confidence passed on them for allegedly working with former Vice President Joice Mujuru to topple President Mugabe.
Before the start of proceedings, acting chairperson Rapelang Choene announced that there were some suspended members who were not supposed to be in the meeting but everyone remained seated.
Central Committee member Naison Khutshwekhaya Ndlovu then suggested that the suspended members be identified so that they could leave the meeting.
Secretary for administration William Dewa rose to call out the names of the members leading to pandemonium as some members refused to leave the meeting venue.
Choene had to ask for assistance from the party’s security personnel and the police to have the members ushered out of the meeting.
Phetshu Sibanda, on whom a vote of no confidence was passed along with chairperson Andrew Langa in November last year, was the last to leave the meeting arguing that he was not aware of his suspension since no documents were presented to him indicating such. “I’m leaving but before I go, I want to say that I’m innocent. No charges were brought before me,” he said.
Nkomo was protesting outside the venue saying the provincial leadership was in the wrong.
“I’m calling the commissar ( Saviour Kasukuwere) to tell him of what’s happening here,” he said.
Later, Nkomo was heard greeting a person he referred to as “honourable” telling him that they had been chucked out of the meeting. He went and stood next to Langa before continuing with the conversation with his mobile phone on loud speaker.
The police had to ask Mkhwebu to calm down and move away from the venue as she continued to protest her ejection from the meeting.
“Why am I being chucked out? I won elections. What is my crime?” she said.
When the police asked her to leave she said: “I want you to hear my side because when you go back to write your reports you should also include what we said.”
Langa joined in the protests saying they had a constituency comprising many people and could not be removed from the meeting.
The meeting proceeded with the suspended members milling outside the venue.
Dewa said the meeting was meant to co-opt members to fill gaps created following the suspension of the alleged coup plotters and those who had been elevated to the central committee.
“The meeting will decide at what level the co-option would be done. “
He said the main wing had 11 positions to co opt, the women’s league six and five in the youth league.
Questions were raised on what the constitution stated on the number of people that needed to be co-opted but it was clarified that fresh elections could only be done if more than one third of the respective wings needed to be co-opted which was not the case.
Politburo member Kembo Mohadi said:
“Let’s not mix things. We have one programme on the co-option. It is your right as a province to convene a PCC meeting so that it can grant you permission to co-opt members,” he said.
“Are the people a third of each wing? They are far below so let us allow the respective organs to co-opt members. Appeals are not done here but elsewhere.”
Mohadi said all those on whom a vote of no confidence was passed were recorded in the minutes of the Politburo.
“All those against whom a vote of no confidence were passed, the names were brought to the Politburo. Even those votes of no confidence like the one done when congress had started and was rejected because it was too late,” he said.
Dewa announced that Mohadi was now the most senior member in Matabeleland South following his appointment as secretary for national security in the Politburo followed by Simon Khaya Moyo who replaced expelled Rugare Gumbo as secretary for information and publicity.
Meanwhile, Zanu PF Matabeleland North provincial chairman Richard Moyo said they stood ready to be corrected by Kasukuwere over the suspension of five members from Hwange District over participating in demonstrations during an accreditation exercise ahead of the congress last December.
Moyo said the five had been suspended by their district and the decision was brought to the province.
“I spoke to the commissar and explained to him our position. He said he will visit the province and we await him so that he guides us accordingly,” said Moyo.
“I did not announce the suspensions, the provincial secretary for administration Douglas Khoza read the letters from the Hwange district to the PCC. The documentation would be sent to relevant national organs including the commissar as we wait for his visit to give us guidance.”