Zimbabwe ruling party expels senior party officials amind coup plot

The view of Harare from my room at the Rainbow Towers Hotel. The tall building to right (about 300 m away) is the headquarters of the ruling party, Zanu PF.

THE ruling Zanu PF has expelled politburo secretary for health Cleveria Chizema and former Mbare legislator Tendai Savanhu for working with the organisers of the failed July 31 demonstrations.

Information and Publicity Acting Secretary Patrick Chinamasa confirmed the expulsions while addressing a media briefing held after Wednesday’s 343rd session of the Politburo.

“The politburo has unanimously resolved that Cleveria Chizema be fired from the party because of the seriousness of her case in which she did not deny any wrong doing, she joins her accomplice Tinashe Mathusa, who was expelled in the previous politburo,” said Chinamasa.

“The politburo has warned that any element bent on or working to split our leadership and dividing the party will be treated with no leniency.

Tendai Savanhu was also expelled again for his association with Cleveria Chizema.”

He added; “We are making these serious decisions to send a clear message that anyone who does not follow the party line does not deserve to be in our midst.”

Chizema was suspended earlier this month after she was found in possession of posters and pamphlets that denounced President Emmerson Mnangagwa ahead of the flopped 31 July.

It was reported at the time that President Emmerson Mnangagwa confronted internal Zanu PF opponents on with the help of Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) boss Isaac Moyo.

The embattled 77-year-old leader used a Zanu PF politburo meeting in Harare to accuse some Zanu PF officials of plotting against him by conspiring with the opposition while promoting the ambitions of Vice President Constantino Chiwenga to take over.

In a stark demonstration of the conflation between state institutions and Zanu PF, Mnangagwa summoned Moyo to present an “intelligence report” about a purported plot against him, believed to have been commissioned by state security minister Owen Mudha Ncube.

High-level sources said Moyo turned up with posters allegedly printed ahead of planned anti-government protests on 31 July. The posters denounced Mnangagwa, while extolling his deputy.

Moyo, however, concluded that the plot was being spearheaded by Politburo member Claveria Chizema (secretary for health, child care and the elderly) and former Mbare MP and businessman Tendai Savanhu.

“Moyo accused Chizema and Savanhu of organising and funding the planned anti-government protests on Friday,” a source briefed on the proceedings said.

“It was styled like Jonathan Moyo’s ‘Blue Ocean’ presentation in July 2017, when the target then was Mnangagwa. It was quite theatrical, but of a lesser quality. Placards were presented, allegedly seized from all 10 provinces indicating support for Chiwenga. Moyo told the Politburo the placards were allegedly going to be paraded on July 31,” the source said.

The target of Moyo’s presentation, prepared allegedly at the instigation of Mnangagwa, was Chiwenga, the 63-year-old former army general who led a 2017 military coup that ousted long-time ruler Robert Mugabe.

Chiwenga sat silently listening to the presentation.

Our source revealed: “The plan appeared to send out a message to Chiwenga that we are watching you, but they were either too cowardly to confront him or their strategy was always to just try and unnerve him.

“Moyo told the Politburo they had looked into Chiwenga and found him to be a most loyal cadre supportive of Mnangagwa’s leadership, effectively isolating Chizema and Savanhu. There was no assertive position on Savanhu taken by the Politburo. Instead, all guns were aimed at Chizema who was identified as the kingpin of the plot.”

Chiwenga is reportedly growing impatient with Mnangagwa, who squandered international goodwill following the military coup by failing to implement reforms and nurturing corruption by his family and associates.

The vice president and his supporters fear rising public anger against the regime could engulf them, and are reportedly keen to see Mnangagwa’s back even before his five-year term – controversially secured in a disputed election in 2018 – is over.

Zanu PF spokesman Patrick Chinamasa told journalists after the meeting that Chizema had been suspended for “dereliction of duty”, he charged for failing to report to the Zanu PF security department or the CIO that anti-Mnangagwa posters had been delivered to her home.