Lloyd Gumbo and Tendai Mugabe
Vice President Joice Mujuru has been fired from Government alongside eight other ministers in a Cabinet reshuffle announced by Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet, Dr Misheck Sibanda, yesterday amid reports more heads were set to roll as the party clean-up extends to Government.
The nine are accused of reneging on their Government mandate by expending their energy and time on alleged graft and factional politics where they sought to topple President Mugabe through unprecedented means, including assassination.
This comes as President Mugabe has convened an extraordinary Central Committee meeting today where he is expected to name his deputies and Politburo members.
Ministers who were fired include Didymus Mutasa (Presidential Affairs), Webster Shamu (Information Communication Technologies, Postal and Courier Services), Francis Nhema (Youth, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment), Olivia Muchena (Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development), Dzikamai Mavhaire (Energy and Power Development), Nicholas Goche (Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare), Simbaneuta Mudarikwa (Minister of State for Mashonaland East Province) and Munacho Mutezo (Deputy Minister Energy and Power Development).
The nine had since lost their bid to become members of the Central Committee.
Said Dr Sibanda: “In terms of Section 106 (2) (b) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment (No. 20) Act 2013, His Excellency the President, Cde R. G. Mugabe has exercised his Executive Powers to relieve Honourable J. T. R Mujuru, MP of her position of Vice President of the Republic of Zimbabwe with immediate effect as it had become evident that her conduct in the discharge of her duties had become inconsistent with her official responsibilities.’’
Section 106 (2) (b) of the Constitution; which deals with the conduct of Vice Presidents, Ministers and Deputy Ministers; stipulates that “Vice Presidents, Ministers and Deputy Ministers may not, during their tenure of office, act in any way that is inconsistent with their office, or expose themselves to any situation involving the risk of a conflict between their official responsibilities and private interests.’’
Over the past few weeks, serious allegations of high level corruption and abuse of office have been raised against Dr Mujuru manifest in extorting shareholding from companies, demanding 10 percent bribes, illicit dealings in diamonds and gold, attempting to defeat the course of justice, extorting investors, undermining the authority of the President and seeking to depose him through unconstitutional means, among them a plot to assassinate him.
Turning to the eight ministers, Dr Sibanda said: “In terms of Section (108) (1) (a) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment (No.20) Act 2013, His Excellency the President, Cde R.G. Mugabe, has relieved the following ministers of their duties with immediate effect as it had become apparent that their conduct and performance were below the expected standard.”
The section; that deals with the tenure of Ministers and Deputy Ministers, says the office of a minister or deputy minister becomes vacant if the President removes him or her from office.’’
The sacked ministers are part of a cabal that was implicated in a nefarious plot to assassinate President and replace him with VP Mujuru while others abused their positions to loot from parastatals to fund the factional activities.
In separate interviews yesterday, some ministers accepted their fate while others chose to remain tight-lipped.
Dr Muchena said: “I received my letter last night but I am not going to make any comments apart from saying we serve at the pleasure of the President.”
Cde Mavhaire said he also received his letter Monday night.
“Yes, it’s true that the two of us (and Engineer Mutezo) have been sacked. The letter was sent to me last night and I signed it. It is the President who appoints and I respect his decision,” he said without disclosing the contents of the letter.
Eng Mutezo blamed the Herald for his woes.
“Mandipedza, hazvina mhosva (You have finished me off The Herald, it doesn’t matter)! That is what you wanted. I do not think it is fair to discuss the President’s letter with a journalist. You serve at the pleasure of the appointing authority and you don’t question his authority.
“My ethics are different from others because I do not reveal the operations (of the ministry). Probably that’s where I went wrong and people have been made to see another Mutezo not me,” he said.
Cdes Mavhaire and Mutezo allegedly connived to coerce Zesa to deposit $40 000 into a Manicaland Zanu-PF Women’s League account to prop up Cde Mujuru’s Presidential bid.
The pair are also accused of siphoning off more than $100 000, amid reports millions more were creamed off struggling parastatals under their ambit, to fund factional activities and Eng Mutezo’s political activities in Chimanimani West.
Speaking from India, Cde Mutasa said: “Ndakataura kare kuti handidi kutaura nemi.” (I said I don’t want to talk to you.)’’
Cde Mutasa is accused of plotting to assassinate President Mugabe after he told one of his lovers that if the President blocks Dr Mujuru’s ascendancy to the Presidency at just ended Congress, he would be shot.
Cde Shamu’s mobile phone was answered by a lady who said the ousted minister had gone to his farm. She was not sure when he would be back. The former political commisar is accused of impregnating an under-age girl, apart from working with the Mujuru cabal to undermine and depose President Mugabe.
Cdes Nhema and Mudarikwa’s mobile phones went unanswered while Cde Goche was not reachable.
It is expected that after appointing the new Politburo today, President Mugabe would announce his two deputies along with new ministers to replace the ousted ones.