HARARE – Two Zanu PF formations are now effectively in existence after former Presidential Affairs minister Didymus Mutasa revealed yesterday that he had formally written to Speaker of Parliament Jacob Mudenda to advise him that the Zanu PF led by President Robert Mugabe was illegal and as such had no mandate to fire him or anyone else from the party.
Speaking to the Daily News yesterday, Mutasa insisted that no one within Mugabe’s Zanu PF could expel him from the “real Zanu PF”, adding that the purported Zanu PF politburo that met last week and came up with the disputed decision to expel him and his nephew Temba Mliswa from the party was illegal.
As a result, he said, he and many other affected party officials were going nowhere, and he remained the legitimate Zanu PF secretary for administration.
Mutasa’s assertions came after Mugabe’s Zanu PF finally wrote to Parliament this week, informing the august House of their decision to expel the former close confidante of Mugabe from their political formation.
“I have since informed the Speaker of the position that we cannot be expelled from Zanu PF by anyone. The present politburo is illegal and until the matter is decided in the courts, we cannot be expelled from Parliament,” the no-nonsense veteran politician charged.
Questioned how he and the rest of the group of disaffected party stalwarts could rely on a court case that they still had to file, Mutasa said he had informed the Speaker of the impending court action, adding that this would be in court “very, very soon”.
Although he would not say yesterday, it is believed that the group of liberation war pioneers who are taking Zanu PF to court could not file their petition at the High Court on Monday as previously indicated because there had apparently been “a sudden influx” of other people who wanted to sign affidavits supporting their cause.
But Ignatius Chombo, the Mugabe Zanu PF secretary for administration, wrote letters to Mudenda this week notifying the Speaker of his formation’s decision to expel Mutasa and Mliswa.
Mudenda confirmed to the Daily News yesterday that his office had received these official notifications.
“I am not in the office today as I am in Bulawayo, but I understand that the letters are now in my office and I am going to attend to them on Monday,” he said.
Mutasa is the incumbent MP for Headlands, while Mliswa represents Hurungwe West and is also a former chairman of Zanu PF’s Mashonaland West province.
On his part, Mliswa has continued to attend Parliament, including chairing the Parliamentary portfolio committee on Sports and Education last week, when he argued then that he had not yet received official notification of his dismissal from the ruling party.
Mliswa has also said that he is prepared to contest any by-election in his constituency as an independent candidate, while Mutasa defiantly says that he will stand as a candidate of the “real Zanu PF” in any by election in his Headlands constituency.
Mutasa, a close confidante of Mugabe since the days of the days of the liberation struggle, wrote to the 15-nation Southern African Development Community last year advising them that his purported removal as the ruling party’s secretary for administration was unconstitutional.
This was after he and scores of other senior party bigwigs, including former vice president Joice Mujuru and former party spokesperson Rugare Gumbo, were brutally purged before, during and after the party’s damp squib “elective” congress that was held in Harare in December last year.
Mutasa also dismissed contemptuously the recommendation by the Zanu PF politburo last week that he must be expelled, saying that the only Zanu PF that he knew and recognised was the one that existed prior to the “criminal congress” held late last year.
Soon after the politburo had supposedly axed him, Mutasa released a scathing statement emphasising that his purported expulsion was “null and void and a serious breach of our party constitution and indeed the Constitution of Zimbabwe”.
“Over and above this, this disciplinary committee (which allegedly looked into his case) is improperly constituted anyway given that, the (party’s disputed December) congress and the first secretary of the party unlawfully breached the party constitution by failing to elect the party national chairperson who is the only one who can chair such a meeting,” he added.
Amid this ongoing acrimony, many Zanu PF members fear that Mugabe, who turned 91 last week, has abdicated his powers to his much younger wife, Grace, whose return from her two-month sojourn in the Far East two weeks ago marked the demise of not only Mutasa and Mliswa, but also former Masvingo regional minister Kudakwashe Bhasikiti who was fired on Thursday last week.
And with the ranks of disaffected party members swelling by the day, Gumbo told the Daily News last week that Mugabe and party hawks should brace themselves not only for the impending court challenge, but also for “other programmes aimed at restoring legitimacy” to Zanu PF.