Zanu-PF’s secretary for security in the politburo, Lovemore Matuke, confirmed to the Daily News yesterday that the party had expanded its probe into the activities of a number of its senior officials – including those who stand accused of having worked with the organisers of last week’s failed mass protests.
The party’s Mashonaland West provincial chairperson, Ziyambi Ziyambi, also confirmed to the Daily News last night that Zanu-PF’s security department was conducting a similar probe in the province.
This comes as there are widening fissures in the former liberation movement, which was split in the middle during the last few years in power of the country’s late former president, Robert Mugabe – who was toppled from office by a stunning military coup in November 2017.
It also comes as the ruling party has suspended politburo member Cleveria Chizema and two of its senior officials in Matabeleland North, over a raft of allegations.
Matuke confirmed the suspension of the two officials in Matabeleland North, including youth league chairperson Tamuka Nyoni – for allegedly being involved with the thwarted July 31 protests.
“The investigations are still ongoing and the two from Matabeleland North, including the young boy (Nyoni) were suspended to allow the investigations to be completed.
“We want to see if the greediness that led them to accept the money had links to July 31 protests. It is from the investigations that we will be able to tell how widespread the issue was.
“We are relying on information in our files,” Matuke told the Daily News.
Last week, the former liberation movement also suspended Chizema for allegedly being involved in organising the demos and for allegedly trying to drive a wedge between Mnangagwa and one of his deputies, Constantino Chiwenga.
Acting Zanu-PF spokesperson Patrick Chinamasa said then that the politburo had suspended Chizema after she allegedly failed to report anti-Mnangagwa fliers that were delivered to her home in March this year.
“The member, Cleveria Chizema, did not report the matter … she clearly … vacillated in her responsibilities as a member of the politburo.
“For that reason, the politburo has directed that there be thorough investigations … on how the fliers were delivered to her home … when it happened in March and did not do anything other than trying to call other members to a meeting without disclosing its nature.
“Among one of their futile imaginations is that Chiwenga is planning a coup against Mnangagwa and that the two do not see eye to eye,” Chinamasa said.
Mnangagwa himself has previously said that he was aware of a plot to remove him involving some Zanu-PF MPs whom he alleged were working with the opposition to impeach him in Parliament.
The failed July 31 mass demos have also unsettled Mashonland West province, where a number of Zanu-PF officials stand accused of supporting the protests.
Contacted by the Daily News to comment on the provincial probe, Ziyambi said he had heard about the list of suspects as he came out of a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday.
“I cannot say anything at the moment. I could exonerate or accuse people wrongly if I were to do so without evidence.
“So, I suggest that you get in touch with the secretary for security in the politburo,” he said, referring the paper to Matuke for further comment.
Meanwhile, party insiders told the Daily News yesterday that there was currently “too much suspicion” within the brawling former liberation movement – to the extent that the party’s recent provincial co-ordinating committee (PCC) meetings in Mashonaland Central, East, West and Midlands had been characterised by tension and harsh exchanges of words between rival factions.
“There are some legislators who are working with some opposition elements as well as others in the security sector to impeach the president.
“The matter has been brought to the attention of the president and the culprits are being investigated. MPs who are behind that are known and the fact that they are working with the opposition to impeach is also known.
“The president is well informed about all that’s happening,” one of the well-placed sources said.
During Mugabe’s last few years in power, Mnangagwa was involved in a hammer and tongs war with the Generation 40 (G40) faction which had coalesced around the nonagenarian’s erratic wife Grace.
The vicious brawling took a nasty turn when Mnangagwa was allegedly poisoned by his rivals during one of Mugabe’s highly-divisive youth interface rallies in Gwanda in 2017.
Mnangagwa’s fate was eventually sealed on November 6, 2017 when Mugabe fired his long-time lieutenant a few days after the then VP’s allies had booed the irascible Grace during a tense rally at White City Stadium in Bulawayo.
However, tables were dramatically turned on Mugabe when the military rolled in their tanks on November 15 of that year and deposed the long-ruling leader from power – which saw a number of alleged G40 kingpins fleeing into self-imposed exile soon afterwards.
But despite Mnangagwa’s ascendancy to power, some ambitious bigwigs in the former liberation movement continue to stand accused of plotting to unseat the Zanu-PF leader.
This comes as political analysts have said a proposed new law which seeks to empower Mnangagwa to handpick his deputies could see him deciding who takes over after him, both as Zanu-PF’s and the country’s new leader.
Parliament has just held public hearings across the country, ahead of Constitutional Amendment Number 2 Bill being debated in the august House – where it is expected to sail through as Zanu-PF enjoys a super majority.
At the same time, critics say the Bill – which seeks to introduce at least 27 amendments to the Constitution, including dropping the presidential election running mate clause – is retrogressive.
The running mate clause was supposed to become operational from the fast-approaching 2023 general elections, which Mnangagwa has already indicated he will participate in.
The Bill also intends to amend the country’s supreme law to give Mnangagwa the power to appoint the prosecutor-general, extend the terms of retiring judges, increase the women’s quota in Parliament by 10 years, create a youth quota in the National Assembly, and appoint more non-constituency ministers, among other things.