Fungai Lupande in BINDURA & Mashudu Netsianda in BULAWAYO
Mashonaland Central and Bulawayo provinces yesterday resolved to ask President Mugabe to immediately drop Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa over allegations of undermining the President.
The calls were made during a Mashonaland Central provincial inter-district conference held at Chipadze Secondary School as well as an emergency Provincial Co-ordinating Committee meeting convened by Bulawayo province at the party’s Davies Hall offices in the wake of disturbances witnessed at the Presidential Youth Interface Rally at White City Stadium on Saturday.
Addressing the conference attended by over 1 500 people from the province’s eight districts, the provincial chairperson, Cde Dickson Mafios, said the President must expel VP Mnangagwa and his allies as soon as possible.
Cde Mafios said in the history of vice presidents, the President has never been troubled by his deputy to the extent of addressing the nation like he did at the youth interface rally in Bulawayo on Saturday.
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“The President asked if he made a mistake by appointing the Vice-President. In the history of the party the President never addressed the nation like he did in Bulawayo. He is sleepless and he refused to eat, we also did not eat because we were hurt,” said Cde Mafios.
“What is surprising is that Mnangagwa never comments on all the allegations. Factionalism led by Mnangagwa wreaked havoc in our province and left me shaken. I am only recovering now. What is wrong with me, Cdes Saviour and Tongai Kasukuwere having positions in the party when he (VP Mnangagwa) left a constituency for his wife?
“The upcoming Congress is for the clean. The President is not protected and we ask him to expel his deputy Mnangagwa with immediate effect.”
Cde Mafios asked anyone opposed to the province’s stance to leave the meeting and no one left, instead there was resounding support and ululation.
Cde Mafios added that Mash Central wanted to surpass 500 000 votes for the President in next year’s harmonised elections.
“In the first phase of Biometric Voter Registration (BVR) we have seen results and we heard that the province surpassed Mashonaland East, which had always been ahead of us in previous years, with 64 000.
“Let’s maintain our standard and intensify mobilisation at cell level so that when we go to Congress we know how many people have registered to vote,” he said.
Cde Mafios urged Industry and Commerce Minister Dr Mike Bimha to withdraw licences for shop owners who are still hiking prices and warned EcoCash agents who are charging people interest for transactions.
Speaking at the conference, Cde Chen Chimutengwende advised people to stop following people in the party but only President Mugabe.
“What the President says is our direction. We follow him because we don’t have another party other than Zanu-PF. It is true that life is now hard but as long we are alive it shall be well. I was expelled in the party for talking too much but now I know what discipline is,” he said.
Cde Chimutengwende, Nicholas Goche, Kennedy Musanhi, Veronica Mukombe, Chipo Masenda, Perkins Mugaradziko were among nominees for Central Committee positions in the province.
National Political Commissar Cde Kasukuwere attended the conference but left early to to attend the First Lady’s Church Interface at Rufaro Stadium.
MPs and party leadership attended the conference.
Bulawayo Province called an emergency Provincial Coordinating Committee (PCC) meeting to discuss the Interface rally, where some Central Committee members including the Women’s League provincial chairperson, Cde Eva Bitu, were ejected from the meeting.
The resolution, which was passed during an explosive meeting at the party’s provincial headquarters, Davies Hall, yesterday, followed a proposal by the youth wing.
The province unanimously resolved that VP Mnangagwa should be sacked from his position in the Government.
The decision came in the wake of heckling of the First Lady Dr Grace Mugabe by party member Cde Magure Charumbira and a few others during her address on Saturday at the Bulawayo Presidential Youth Interface Rally held at White City Stadium.
Zanu-PF Bulawayo provincial chairman Cde Dennis Ndlovu said the party leadership in the province distances itself from the disorder that took place at the rally.
“As Zanu-PF Bulawayo province, we have unanimously resolved that VP Mnangagwa should be fired from his post for leading a faction that is opposing President Mugabe. The province also supports female candidature for the VP position. The entire Provincial Coordinating Committee also resolved to dissociate itself from the disturbances that took place during the Presidential Youth Interface rally in Bulawayo,” he said.
During the rally, a small clique of party supporters allegedly linked to a faction believed to be pushing for VP Mnangagwa to succeed President Mugabe, tried to disrupt the meeting by booing the First Lady during her address.
Cde Ndlovu said the majority of people who booed the First Lady were bussed from other provinces.
“It emerged that from the small clique which tried to disrupt the rally, most of them were people from outside the province, particularly the Midlands and Masvingo. They were brought in buses and coordinated by expelled party chairmen and known rogue elements such as Charumbira,” he said.
Cde Ndlovu said the provincial executive has resolved to take drastic measures against party members that were involved.
“The province would like to take this opportunity to apologise to President Mugabe and the First Lady Dr Grace Mugabe. We want to assure them of our unwavering support and reaffirm that we are support President’s candidature in the 2018 elections,” he said.
During yesterday’s meeting some party members suspected to be linked to a faction allegedly aligned to VP Mnangagwa, were chucked out. Those who were kicked out of the meeting include the provincial chairlady for the Bulawayo Zanu-PF Women’s League, Cde Eve Bitu, Central Committee member Cde Anna Moyo and deputy provincial commissar Cde Douglas “Bin Laden” Gangaidzo.
The Minister of State for Bulawayo Provincial Affairs, Cde Eunice Nomthandazo Moyo, said they don’t condone factionalism.
“In Bulawayo asifuni bumbulu (stubbornness) and I am saying to our children who are involved in factionalism, you better stop it! We have people who come from other provinces to soil our good name and undermining us. I don’t think we can allow such to continue painting us in bad light and clandestinely using names of our leaders to commit crimes,” she said.
Politburo member Cde Absolom Sikhosana warned party members against denigrating President Mugabe and the First Lady, saying such people had no place in the ruling party.
“I want to warn those behind the madness that happened on Saturday at White City Stadium that they should stop. It is very true that Bulawayo people are very angry over the insults directed to President Mugabe and the First Lady Dr Grace Mugabe. The people behind that madness were not even invited and at no time did we request their assistance during the preparations for the Presidential Youth Interface Rally,” he said.
“We can’t have a situation where people boo our leaders and certainly that is unacceptable.”
Zanu-PF National Deputy Secretary for Youth Affairs Cde Mpehlabayo Malinga also condemned the people who heckled the First Lady, saying youths have a mandate to protect the names of the President and the First Lady.
“We will not allow people to insult our President and the First Lady. I know as youths we are easily manipulated by people and it’s always easy for us to get money for airtime and beer. As Zanu-PF youths our first commandment is to protect the name of the President and that of the First Lady,” he said.
War veterans’ provincial vice-chairman for Bulawayo Cde Naison Mashasha said they would soon hold a meeting to discuss the issue of factionalism in Bulawayo.
He said his organisation fully supported President Mugabe.
“We support what President Mugabe has said about factionalism and as war veterans who are loyal to him we don’t condone factionalism. If you think Zanu-PF is no longer your party, just leave us alone and form yours,” said Cde Mashasha.
Some of the party members who are accused of fanning factionalism include former Welfare Services for War Veterans, War Collaborators, Ex-Political Detainees and Restrictees Minister Retired Colonel Tshinga Dube, businessman Elphas Mashava and expelled youth leaders Davis Muhambi and Charumbira among others.