HARARE – Zanu PF’s national political commissar, Saviour Kasukuwere, is regaining lost ground in the ruling party — buoyed by First Lady Grace Mugabe — who threw her full weight behind the Mount Darwin South legislator more than five weeks ago after his nemeses had sharpened their knives over his alleged political indiscretions.
Kasukuwere was subjected to months of sharp criticism, including demonstrations across the party’s provinces that were calling for either his dismissal or re-assignment on allegations of creating parallel structures to grab power from the country’s first citizen — President Robert Mugabe.
In the midst of the protests that saw nine out of 10 provinces passing votes of no confidence against him, the Local Government minister struggled to perform his commissariat functions as some of the provincial executive members across the country snubbed his meetings for fear of reprisals.
This had continued during the course of investigations into his conduct led by Zanu PF politburo member and National Assembly Speaker, Jacob Mudenda, who was dispatched by Mugabe to probe the charges, along with Simon Khaya-Moyo (national party spokesperson); Tsitsi Muzenda (committee member — politburo) and Xavier Kazizi (secretary for administration in the party’s youth league).
Even in the weeks that followed emotive discussions in the party’s supreme decision making body in between congresses — the politburo — where his case was referred to the presidium for finalisation, Kasukuwere’s political future had remained in limbo.
Tables were, however, turned after Grace exonerated him at a Zanu PF youth interface rally held in Chinhoyi, Mashonaland West Province, in July, and since then almost all provinces have been attending his meetings.
Zanu PF insiders told the Daily News recently that thereafter some of Kasukuwere’s tormentors have been beating a hasty retreat upon realising that “they had been misled into believing that Mugabe and his wife were unhappy with Kasukuwere and wanted them to make it easy for them to censure him”.
But even though strange bedfellows seem to be closing ranks, many are still worried that the abrasive Kasukuwere might hit back on them for organising the demonstrations in various provinces. With primary elections now around the corner, there are fears that Kasukuwere could use his position to make it difficult for them to stand in either parliamentary or local government elections.
Zanu PF insiders said some of Kasukuwere’s rivals are trooping to him to ask for forgiveness under the cover of darkness in the hope that they would be allowed to seek re-election or new mandates as Members of Parliament or councillors.
Khaya Moyo confirmed the development yesterday saying Zanu PF structures were indeed rising above their differences to support the national political commissar, who is the party’s chief campaigner.
“Some of the demonstrations were stage-managed but that has since been discovered,” said the Zanu PF national spokesperson.
“We, however, are not in the habit, as a party, to block democratic engagements. So we also feel that it was their right to demonstrate only that if they are held, they must be within the dictates of the party’s constitution.
“The party never concentrates on individuals, we area people centred — guided by our programmes that come out the Zim-Asset economic blueprint. So it only makes us happy that our structures are uniting for that purpose throughout the country” he added.
Zim-Asset is the acronym for the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Economic Transformation economic blueprint that runs between 2009 and 2013.
In exonerating Kasukuwere, the all-powerful first lady said the same trick that was used to push out her former deputy in the Zanu PF Women’s League, Eunice Sandi Moyo, and treasurer, Sarah Mahoka, had been used against Kasukuwere.
“After the issue of Sandi and Mahoka, people used that to victimise Kasukuwere, they thought that if the president allowed his wife to remove Mahoka and Moyo, they will do the same. They mobilised people to demonstrate against Kasukuwere claiming he wanted to remove the president.
“This is not true, do you think Kasukuwere and his brothers can remove Mugabe — they are only three, do you think that is possible? Toda kutaurirana chokwadi, chokwadi ngachichibuda izvozvi iko kamukomana ikaka, nyangwe une zidumbu hako simuka iwe muri vaviri imimi kubvisa mudhara ane zimhomho rakadai iri, chokwadi ngachibude izvozvi (Kasukuwere is very small he cannot remove Mugabe even though he has a big belly, he is still a young man).
“Kasukuwere is a minister, a minister who was appointed by the president, Kasukuwere ari kuserver commissariat akaapoindwa napresident, hapana ane right yekuti ndinobvisa Kasukuwere president vasina kuti chokwadi ndizvozvo, hapana! (Kasukuwere serves the commissariat department after he was appointed by Mugabe and no one has the right to remove him).
“If people were not happy with Kasukuwere they should have sat down and wrote down their grievances before taking them to the president, not for grown-up men to plot against one man, stop it!
“No one is perfect; I am not saying he is perfect. He knows that if he is doing something wrong I would tell him. Stop attacking Jonathan (Moyo) today and tomorrow Kasukuwere. Let them do their work. You manufactured corruption charges against Jonathan. It’s too much; we have been quiet for a long time. This must be stopped,” said Grace.
Kasukuwere is believed to be a key member of a party faction known as the Generation 40, which is rabidly opposed to Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s presidential ambitions.
A rival faction known as Team Lacoste is backing Mnangagwa.
Kasukuwere has been adamant that the Team Lacoste faction had hijacked a purely women’s league event to perpetrate its agenda.
Provinces canvassed by the Daily News, including Masvingo — the bastion of the Team Lacoste faction — confirmed that they had since buried the hatchet.
“The problems are over now and we are working all well, both those who were for and against the demonstrations because we realised that is what is the best for the party,” said Masvingo provincial chairman, Ezra Chadzamira.
“I do attend the meetings (with Kasukuwere) and I actually hope that when we meet this week (commissariat’s weekly meetings) we will get feedback from the party on the disciplinary cases we dealt with”.
In May, Masvingo province suspended its secretary for the commissariat, Jappy Jaboon, for five years after he was found guilty of causing divisions in the party, among other charges.
The provincial disciplinary committee, which tried him in absentia after he failed to turn up for his hearing, barred him from holding any party position for the next five years.
The Bikita South legislator was accused of creating parallel structures; fomenting divisions in the party; abusing his position and failing to execute his duties, among other things.
He was replaced by Jevas Masosote from Chiredzi.
In Mashonaland Central Province, where the anti-Kasukuwere demonstrations started, the leadership there told the Daily News yesterday that tranquillity had since returned to the region.
“We have decided not to concentrate on what happened in the past and now that elections are around the corner, we are more concerned about mobilising our people to vote to ensure a resounding victory for the president next year,” Kazembe said, adding that “currently we are having a Provincial Coordinating Committee (meeting) in preparation for the president’s coming next week,” deputy chairperson, Kazembe Kazembe.
Recently, Mashonaland Central’s Provincial Affairs minister Martin Dinha made a passionate appeal for to party officials who were involved in the fight against Kasukuwere to forgive each other when he addressed mourners in Bindura at the funeral of the late national hero, George Rutanhire, a fortnight ago.
He justified his call saying there was need for the party to stand united ahead of synchronised elections next year in which Mugabe might face his former deputy, Joice Mujuru, along with his long time rival, Morgan Tsvangirai of the MDC.
Curiously, one of the State-owned weeklies ran an editorial advising Mnangagwa to dump his vocal sympathisers, as the fallout over Mugabe’s succession grows.
The editorial came amid a rumpus in Zanu PF over allegations that Mnangagwa was poisoned by alleged rivals.
“Following statements by President Mugabe and the first lady Dr Grace Mugabe during the Zanu PF presidential youth interface rally in Gweru last Friday, it indeed is time for the VP to clear the deck. It was clear from the statements by the president and the first lady that VP Mnangagwa is not the problem with regards to reports of factionalism emanating from the Midlands province.
“In fact, listening closely to the statements, one got a feeling that the biggest disappointment was that the VP was being let down by some overzealous and reckless barking dogs from the province and a few misguided elements from around the country.
“One writer once wrote: “You can run all you want, but the baggage you travel with will continue to hold you down until you let some of it go.” Another writer sarcastically wrote: “Pay excess baggage in airplanes, not in life. Let go!”
“The time has come for VP Mnangagwa to let go some baggage that is weighing him down. Why should he continue paying excess baggage in life as if he lives in an airplane? The Energy Mutodis of this world, the Victor Matemadandas of this world and many more jokers and spoilers out there are now excess baggage for the VP,” reads part of the editorial. – Daily News