Fresh turmoil rocks Zanu PF

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.

HARARE – Trouble is brewing in Zanu PF, with some militant war veterans pushing for former Cabinet ministers now stationed at the party’s Harare headquarters to be expelled from the former liberation movement for alleged corruption and undermining President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

This comes as Mnangagwa and his government are under pressure to stabilise the country’s sickly economy which has been in turmoil ever since Finance minister Mthuli Ncube unveiled a cocktail of measures aimed at mitigating the situation.

Well-placed sources told the Daily News yesterday that the old Zanu PF guard — which includes former ministers who were shunted to the party’s HQ after Mnangagwa appointed a new Cabinet — could become victims of the disgruntled war veterans who were “envious” of these bigwigs’ mouth-watering  perks which are similar to those of serving ministers.

Mnangagwa re-assigned these “chefs” to the party’s headquarters — commonly referred to as Shake Shake House in Harare street lingo — in a bid to breathe new life in government and to strengthen the former liberation movement’s administration.

The Zanu PF leader’s idea was apparently to emulate the Chinese Communist Party’s model, which has also been adopted by President Cyril Ramaphosa’s African National Congress (ANC) in South Africa.

War veterans chairpersons drawn from the country’s 10 provinces recently petitioned Mnangagwa in this regard, demanding the removal of Zanu PF’s secretary for administration Obert Mpofu and fellow former ministers David Parirenyatwa, Patrick Chinamasa and Sydney Sekeramayi — who are all politburo members.

“Consequently, in pursuit of our constitutional mandate as custodians of the Zimbabwean people’s revolution, as patriots, loyal and stockholders of Zanu PF, we demand, as we hereby do, through the copy of this petition, that the following members relinquish their posts and vacate offices at the Zanu PF headquarters with immediate effect.

“Failure to do so, we — as veterans of the liberation struggle — shall force them out of the offices for the good of the people’s revolution,” the former freedom fighters said in their petition.

However, war veterans’ spokesperson, Douglas Mahiya, rubbished the petition.

“Who are the signatories to the petition? I am not aware of that … I have been out of town,” Mahiya said.

But the influential war vets chairpersons maintained that the petition has the full support of all their members and that they will not relent until their issues
against the former ministers have been fully addressed by Mnangagwa — who is also their patron.

“The whole system knows, and in any case we as provincial chairpersons are part of the national executive, so how can that be a secret.

“Everyone is in the loop and so we are singing from the same hymn book,” Sam Parirenyatwa, the war veterans chairperson for Mashonaland Central said.

His Mashonaland West counterpart, Cornelius Muoni, weighed in saying that “the fact that it is a petition by provincial chairpersons is enough”.

In the meantime, the Zanu PF youth league has cautioned the former freedom fighters against “bringing unnecessary distractions” to the former liberation movement.

“The war veterans should have used other ways to get their message across, as opposed to using petitions,” youth league deputy chairperson Lewis Mathuthu told the Daily News.

Zanu PF was on the brink of another split during the factional, tribal and succession wars of the past few years which got nastier last year when Mnangagwa was allegedly poisoned by his rivals during a youth interface rally in Gwanda.

Former leader Robert Mugabe had also until the military intervention of last November — which ended his ruinous rule — studiously refused to name his successor, amid claims that he was preparing his erratic wife Grace to succeed him.