HARARE – Zanu-PF commissar Victor Matemadanda is recuperating after he fell seriously ill amid suspicious that he was poisoned at a ruling party event a week ago.
Matemadanda was taken ill after attending a Zanu-PF Mashonaland East provincial coordinating committee (PCC) meeting held in Marondera on November 13, sources said.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa, his deputy Constantino Chiwenga and several other top ruling party officials attended the meeting.
Party insiders revealed that Matemadanda is suspected to have been poisoned at the function. He has been receiving treatment from his Mt Pleasant home in Harare after complaining of stomach pains and vomiting soon after the meeting.
The Zanu-PF commissar has not been seen in public since then, although the insiders said he was responding well to treatment. They, however, said he was still “not out of danger”.
“He is now better, but the situation was terrible,” the insider, who requested anonymity, said.
“I talked to him today (yesterday), he is now doing well.
“He was vomiting and complaining of severe stomach pains. I think it was food poisoning.”
Matemadanda, who is also the Zimbabwe Liberation War Veterans Association secretary-general, yesterday would neither confirm nor deny that he was unwell.
He referred all questions to acting party spokesperson Patrick Chinamasa who he said “has all the details”.
“Cde Chinamasa has got the details,” Matemadanda said in a terse response.
Chinamasa was not picking calls, but he issued a statement late last night confirming that the Defence deputy minister “suddenly fell seriously ill” on November
“Matemadanda’s sudden illness was accompanied by itchiness of the eyes, sweating profusely, swelling of the body and vomiting badly, resulting in him rushing for medical attendance,” he said.
Chinamasa said the war veterans’ leader was recovering with only itchiness in the eyes persisting. The Zanu-PF spokesperson told The Standard that he was not aware of the allegations that Matemadanda was poisoned.
He said only doctors could speak about the poisoning allegations after carrying out tests..
Information minister Monica Mutsvangwa refused to comment on Matemadanda’s alleged illness and poisoning, saying it was a personal matter that he alone could respond to.
“How am I supposed to know about someone’s personal health?
“I am a government spokesperson and how is that a government issue? Phone him and hear from him,” Mutsvangwa said.
Matemadanda has been traversing the length breadth of the country restructuring the ruling party that is in the process of conducting district coordinating committee (DCC) elections to reintroduce the controversial structures banned by the late former president Robert Mugabe in 2014 accusing them of fanning factionalism in the ruling party.
The position of Zanu-PF commissar has always been a contentious seat with history replete with cases of his predecessors dying in mysterious accidents during party restructuring exercises.
These include the late former Defence minister Moven Mahachi, Border Gezi and Elliot Manyika.
Cases of alleged poisoning in Zanu-PF top ranks have become common with Mnangagwa being one of the “victims” after he was taken ill during a rally in Gwanda in 2017
Mnangagwa suffered a “severe bout of abdominal discomfort, vomiting and diarrhoea”.
He was alleged to have eaten ice-cream from Mugabe’s Gushungo Dairies, a claim that further strained relations between Mnangagwa and the then president.
Mnangagwa told a memorial service for Masvingo iron lady Shuvai Mahofa in 2017 that, just like she was poisoned at a Victoria Falls Zanu-PF meeting in 2015, he was also a victim of poisoning in Gwanda.
Mahofa, a close Mnangagwa ally, allegedly succumbed to poisoning in 2017.
Chiwenga also nearly died last year after he was allegedly poisoned.
The VP spent several months battling for his life in hospitals in South Africa, India and China.
After Chiwenga’s return, he made headlines for refusing to take food at Zanu-PF and government functions, let alone drinking water.