HARARE – Zanu PF’s politburo has virtually become a war zone for factional fights playing out in the top echelons of the ruling party, with Wednesday’s meeting proving beyond any reasonable doubt that President Robert Mugabe now remains the glue keeping the party from disintegrating, the Daily News can report.
At its previous two meetings last month, stormy debate in the politburo had centred on a report by a four-member committee that looked into a string of accusations made against Zanu PF’s national political commissar, Saviour Kasukuwere.
Kasukuwere faces 11 charges, with the most damning of them being that he was hatching an elaborate plan to depose Mugabe from power using prosecutable means.
Despite referring the matter to the presidium at its last meeting of June 21, echoes from the report continue to reverberate nearly two months after Speaker of the National Assembly, Jacob Mudenda, and his team tabled it before the supreme decision-making organ in between congresses.
For the first time since Zanu PF was formed on August 8, 1963 in Enos Nkala’s Highfield house, Mugabe personally sanctioned the use of smart boards by Higher and Tertiary Education minister, Jonathan Moyo, to graphically put across his argument.
At the previous politburo meeting, Moyo had asked for permission from Mugabe to demonstrate to members that the charges brought up against Kasukuwere were part of alleged political chicanery by Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa to remove out of his way Zanu PF functionaries opposed to his presidential ambitions.
Mnangagwa’s backers had rejected the request but Mugabe gave in, resulting in the former University of Zimbabwe political science lecturer being allowed to use smart board to rail at his former ally.
Moyo was once one of the vice president’s allies, until they reportedly fell out after Mnangagwa failed to protect him from a purge that occurred ahead of Zanu PF’s elective congress in 2004.
Known as the “Tsholotsho Declaration”, the plot was meant to elevate Mnangagwa from the position of secretary for administration to vice president following the death of Simon Muzenda in September 2003.
Moyo was the chief architect of the unsanctioned meeting at Dinyane in Tsholotsho that resulted in the suspension of six provincial chairpersons, including Mudenda, who chaired Matabeleland North at the time.
On Wednesday, Moyo presented a documentary comprising still images and a voice over narrating events that he alleged gave evidence of Mnangagwa’s push for power.
It also contained events dating as far back as the Tsholotsho debacle .
He also sought to give electronic evidence exposing what he termed “illegitimate calls for the ouster” of Kasukuwere.
Moyo argued that anti-Kasukuwere demonstrators, who stormed streets across the country waving placards and shouting slogans that denounced the commissar as divisive and power-hungry, were actually supporters of former vice president, Joice Mujuru.
Mujuru was kicked out of the party in December 2014 on the same allegations of plotting to topple Mugabe.
Moyo is said to have argued that Mnangagwa had captured State institutions such as the entire security sector and the judiciary among others and used the example of the recent case in which the vice president was severely criticised for his handling of the appointment a new Chief Justice(CJ) in his other hat as Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs minister.
This followed the retirement of the now later former chief justice, Godfrey Chidyausiku.
Mnangagwa was at the forefront of advocating for a constitutional amendment, which would see the appointment of the CJ being sorely a prerogative of the president instead of the current provision where such a process is done following an open procedure inclusive of public interviews.
The Daily News could, however, not independently verify reports that former editors at the State media helped Moyo prepare the multimedia presentation that allowed him to provide what he called video and pictorial evidence to sustain his argument that Mnangagwa had captured the State in preparation for eventual takeover.
“Moyo presented his evidence, including what war veterans, expelled youths had said. He had pictures of youths wearing the Locoste fashion label. He went as far as the Zim dollar era saying that some cheques disappeared and also questioned Mnangagwa’s hand in the collapse of some party companies,” said the source.
Mnangagwa and his backers were also up to the task.
After the presentation, sources said an irate Mnangagwa took to his feet and gave Moyo an intemperate bombardment as he denied all allegations against him.
Mnangagwa is said to have started his defence by congratulating Moyo for working hard to produce the documentary before asking Moyo to identify which part of the documentary showed him plotting against Mugabe.
“Mnangagwa asked Moyo to pick any part of his documentary which had him actively plotting to unseat the president and Moyo failed to respond,” another politburo member said.
Mnangagwa reportedly also denied allegations of State capture, saying he never did anything without receiving instructions of briefing and de-briefing Mugabe.
He also took his time to chronicle his 55-year political journey with Mugabe dating back to the days of the liberation struggle as he tried frantically to demonstrate his perpetual allegiance to Mugabe.
“He ended his narration by saying that no one knew him better than the president and also said no one knew Mugabe better than him. He said perhaps, only (Defence minister) Sydney Sekeramayi was the one who could be closest to know them better,” the source added.
Mnangagwa, who reportedly came to the meeting armed with a 31 page defence which for some reasons he refrained from referring to, ended by charging that he was ready to prepare his own evidence against Moyo and asked secretary for administration, Ignatius Chombo, to organise a special politburo meeting in which he would expose Moyo’s alleged anti-Mugabe plots.
“ED then said he had his own documentary evidence to prove that Moyo and Kasukuwere were plotting against the president and he will bring the evidence in the next meeting. So he will be bringing his own videos and other materials that he claims to have,” said the source.
Mnangagwa claimed he wanted to show the world the links between the Higher Education minister and the United States’ Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).
Moyo’s critics have often raised the allegation that he wants to destroy Zanu PF from within.
Zimbabwe Defence Forces commander, Constantino Chiwenga, became the latest critic of Moyo to issue such subtle inferences.
Although he denies it, Mnangagwa is accused of leading the Team Lacoste faction, which is priming to take over power after Mugabe who is fast approaching 94 years.
Moyo, on the other hand, is said to belong to the Generation 40 (G40) faction, along with Kasukuwere, which is opposed to Mnangagwa.
The two camps have been fighting a bitter war that has resulted in expulsions and suspension of party officials often on flimsy charges.
Kasukuwere who had to recuse himself since he was the subject of the discussions for the greater part of the meeting, was only called into the indaba held at the Zanu PF headquarters around 1500hrs.
After Mnangagwa’s presentation, Mugabe is said to have ordered the meeting to proceed and put Kasukuwere to his defence.
Kasukuwere, who had been absent from the meeting, was then called in and denied all allegations against him, which included authoring cash withdrawals in his home province of Mashonaland Central.
“When Kasukuwere was read his charges by the party secretary for administration, he was asked if he had anything to say and he gave his defence line….He simply said everything was false. He trashed the report by Jacob Mudenda as false but Mudenda defended it saying the politburo was free to invite people he interviewed during his investigation for further evidence,” the official said.
Mnangagwa was reportedly of the idea that Kasukuwere’s case should be concluded in that meeting, but Mugabe overrode him saying he would not depart from a resolution of the previous politburo meeting, which had said Kasukuwere’s case would be decided by the party presidium.
The meeting ended in a deadlock as no faction appeared to have turned the tide decisively.
Sources, however, said Mugabe had attempted to deal with Kasukuwere’s issue, along with his deputies, at one of their routing Cabinet meetings held on Tuesdays.
The source said there was no consensus on the way forward among his deputies, as has become the norm since they allegedly belong to different factions.
Mnangangwa is said to have washed his hands on the matter, preferring that Mugabe deals with the issue himself, while Mphoko declared that Kasukuwere had no case to answer.
Kasukuwere is walking on a political knife edge, facing a litany of charges including the sinister plot of trying to remove Mugabe by setting up parallel structures.
He denies the charges.
His fate now lies in the hands of the presidium, made up of Mugabe and his two deputies – Mnangagwa and Phelekezela Mphoko.
In its recommendations, Mudenda’s committee, which also comprised Tsitsi Muzenda, Simon Khaya Moyo and Xavier Kazizi appeared to make a prima facie case against Kasukuwere on most of the charges.
On the most grievous charge of treason, the committee said investigations to establish the facts were above its punch and since it had no capacity to do the probe, recommended that the security arms of government be roped in to do a thorough job.
“It is therefore recommended that the State security apparatus and other intelligence arms of government may be in a better position to make further investigations on the matter,” reads part of its recommendations. – Daily News