FORMER Cabinet minister, Ignatius Morgen Chiminya Chombo has applied to be officially readmitted into Zanu PF following his expulsion from the party in 2017 at the height of the infamous ‘Operation Restore Legacy’, which ousted late former president Robert Mugabe.
Affectionately known as “Whitehead”, the once all-too-powerful bureaucrat likened to a prime minister, seems to be weaving his way back into the political limelight after the remaining of a slew of corruption, fraud and criminal abuse of office charges were quashed by the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) a fortnight ago.
In the aftermath of NPA’s withdrawal of all charges against him, Chombo wrote to Zanu PF Mashonaland West Chairman, Mary Mliswa-Chikoka, requesting that he be allowed back into the party.
His short letter dated October 10, 2023, seen by NewZimbabwe.com reads; “l write to you requesting to be admitted into the party following the five-year hiatus (2017—2023). Please let me know if you need more information…”
Last Friday, the Zanu PF Provincial Executive Committee (PEC) convened a meeting in Chinhoyi where the 71-year-old politician’s application was read and discussed with most attendees unanimously agreeing that the ex-minister should be given another chance to serve the revolutionary party.
Procedurally, this Sunday, Mliswa-Chikoka brought the communication for endorsement by the Provincial Coordinating Committee (PCC) at its meeting held at Orange Grove Motel.
“The PEC sat on Friday and deliberated on the matter and saw nothing wrong in readmitting him into the party…,” Mliswa-Chikoka told delegates.
She then invited Justice Minister and Zanu PF Politburo member, Ziyambi Ziyambi, as Zvimba district senior representative, to give guidance on how to proceed with Chombo’s application as he hails from that area.
“As Zvimba district we looked at what has been the precedence across the country on expelled members and we found out that Mashonaland West was probably the only province which has not recommend anyone for readmission, and that’s not a good thing,” said Ziyambi.
He explained the readmission process saying now that PEC and PCC had ratified Chombo’s comeback, the recommendations will be forwarded to the National Disciplinary Committee and Politburo for final assessment and way forward.
“As Zvimba, we agreed that he was a helpful person who sponsored Zanu PF events and programmes (during his hiatus), and that his pending court cases were all cleared. Therefore, there is absolutely no reason to object to his readmission,” added Ziyambi.
Deputy provincial political commissar, Jackson Chizanga, also weighed in saying Chombo’s return would reinvigorate the party, which sentiments were echoed by Central Committee member Silas Chimbiro and former Chegutu West legislator, Dexter Nduna, among others.
Amid the glowing testimonials, Chombo’s estranged wife who is newly-installed Mashonaland West Provincial Affairs Minister, Marian Chombo, was emotionless as she sat at the top table constantly fidgeting with her phone.
Ignatius and Marian parted ways in 2012 following a bitterly fought divorce case, which spilled into the courts.
Political commentators warn of a bruising battle for the Zvimba North parliamentary seat between the former husband and wife pair. Marian is the incumbent MP while Ignatius previously occupied the post for some time, and his return might spell doom for his ex-wife.
The former Cabinet minister, who by last month was only left with two charges of corruption which were withdrawn by Magistrate Marehwanazvo Gofa, is now a free man after years with the yoke around his neck.
Three other cases which were before Magistrate Stanford Mambanje were withdrawn before plea in March.
Chombo served as Minister of Local Government, Public Works and Urban Development from 2000 to 2015 before his appointment as Home Affairs minister from 2015 to 2017.
His final dalliance with statecraft was when he was appointed Finance minister in 2017, before an inglorious exit from the post and dismissal from Zanu PF following the coup that ousted Mugabe. – NewZim