Tendai Mugabe Senior Reporter
ZANU-PF yesterday issued a gag order barring its provincial chairpersons and all other officials from talking about developments in the party in the media.
The order was announced by the revolutionary party’s national chairman Cde Simon Khaya Moyo after a meeting he held with provincial chairpersons in Harare yesterday.In an unusual development, the meeting of the provincial chairpersons coincided with another one convened by the Secretary for Administration Cde Didymus Mutasa with all provincial secretaries of administration.
Issues discussed in that meeting could not be verified last night, although indications were that it had to do with events of that past few weeks where some party leaders have been exposed as fighting against the appointment of the First Lady Amai Grace Mugabe as Women’s League chairperson even though the issue is, to all intents and purposes, a fait accompli given that two constitutional organs of the party — the Women’s and Youth Leagues — endorsed the First Lady’s ascendancy to the helm of the Women’s League and both have resolutions to that effect.
Matters came to a head over the weekend when Zanu-PF Harare Province deputy youth chairperson Cde Edison Takataka was assaulted allegedly at the instigation of Politburo member Cde Tendai Savanhu for attending the Mazowe meeting held on the eve of the Youth Conference where the Youth League endorsed the decision calling on President Mugabe to appoint Amai Mugabe Women’s League boss at the December elective Congress.
The attack on Cde Takataka prompted the Women’s League in Harare to convene a meeting at Mhofu Primary School in Highfield, presided over by Cde Cleveria Chizema the most senior Politburo member in Harare, that reaffirmed the Women’s League support for the First Lady and rapped Cde Savanhu and Harare province chairperson Cde Amos Midzi calling for their ouster for failing to run the province.
In a strongly worded statement after the chairpersons meeting yesterday, Cde Khaya Moyo also warned party members against ‘’abusing the name of the First Lady Amai Grace Mugabe to score cheap political goals’’.
Discipline, Cde Khaya Moyo said, was a cardinal rule that should be observed at all levels of the party.
“Zanu-PF is not a media party and its operations cannot be conducted through the media,” he said.
“Zanu-PF is a party of discipline and this must be reflected throughout its structures.
“On this note, I must warn the party members at every level, not to use the media to abuse the First Lady’s name for whatever reason. The First Family must be respected at all times.”
In any case, Cde Khaya Moyo said, members should focus on strengthening party structures ahead of the December National People’s Congress.
”Zanu-PF is a mammoth organisation, a revolutionary party with massive membership and therefore its structures must be intact and its membership registers verifiable all the time,” he said.
Some provincial chairpersons who attended the meeting expressed reservations with the development saying they were shocked that the National Chairman, who chairs the party’s disciplinary committee, could convene a meeting with provincial chairpersons when six of them were implicated in the embarrassing vote manipulation and vote buying that afflicted the Youths Conference; and when a special Politburo to discuss the development was reportedly in the pipeline.
The chairpersons of Harare, Matabeleland South, Masvingo, Mashonaland West, Manicaland and Matabeleland North all stand accused of influencing the youths vote.
The Youths have since submitted a dossier of the alleged illegal activities by six of the party’s 10 provincial chairpersons.
A woman’s League member from Mashonaland Central, who spoke on condition of anonymity queried the call against discussing the First Lady in the media saying as women they found it strange that they were being told to keep quiet at a time they were celebrating First Lady’s endorsement by the Women’s and Youths conferences, and when the stories have been mostly positive.