Felex Share Herald Reporter
Zanu-PF is investigating reports that some of its legislators and senior officials are holding secret meetings with United States Embassy officials and briefing them on classified internal discussions related to the party’s succession politics.
US Embassy second secretary in charge of parliamentary section Mr Eric Little, who attends most parliamentary sessions open to the public in the House, is reportedly getting briefings from several Zanu-PF and MDC-T legislators under the cover of the Ambassador’s Special Self-Help Programmes.
Mr Little is believed to be a Central Intelligence Agency operative.
At least 12 Zanu-PF parliamentarians have been fingered with some of their constituencies last week benefiting from a US$90 000 grant the US embassy disbursed under the programme “to enhance community projects”.
The projects are being spearheaded by non-governmental organisations but the legislators are said to be heavily involved in them.
MDC-T legislators reportedly in the equation include Mabvuku Tafara MP Mr James Maridadi and Willas Madzimure with the pair being accused of meeting Mr Little separately.
Their deliberations centred on possible replacements for MDC-T leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai who, according to sources, no longer figures in the plans of the United States.
Zanu-PF secretary for information and publicity Cde Rugare Gumbo yesterday said the party “cannot ignore such reports.”
“As they say no investigation, no right to speak, but as a party we cannot ignore such reports,” he said.
“We are going to carry out investigations and make the necessary pronouncements. We have only heard about that in the media and we have to establish what is happening. It may be innocent funding or it might be something else so we cannot relax on the matter.”
Cde Gumbo, however, said it was surprising that officials were not bringing the matter to the party, and instead opting to tell the media.
“We do not want to be subjective or pre-empt the issue but those who are being quoted should bring the matter to the party otherwise it might be people who have got their own agendas,” he said.
MDC-T spokesperson Mr Douglas Mwonzora said the party policy did not allow legislators to engage secretly with any embassy officials.
“We do not have information that they met and in any case we do not have the purpose of the meeting, but the party policy does not allow that,” he said.
Zanu-PF legislators, now known as the “dirty dozen”, invited for the handover of the US$90 000 grant included Cde Paul Mavhima (Gokwe Sengwa), Cde Walter Kanhanga (Guruve North), Cde Adam Chimwamurombe (Chipinge West), Cde Chriswell Mutematsaka (Guruve South), Cde Batsirayi Pemhanayi (Mutare North), Cde Enock Porusingazi (Chipinge West), Cde Tapiwanashe Matangaidze (Shurugwi South), Cde Temba Mliswa (Hurungwe West), Cde Kindness Paradza (Makonde), Cde David Butau (Mbire), Cde Simbaneuta Mudarikwa (Uzumba) and one other from Masvingo province.
Those who attended the signing ceremony — officiated by US Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Mr Bruce Wharton — are Cde Kanhanga, Cde Chimwamurombe and Cde Mutematsaka. The three have denied accusations of doing anything wrong saying the event had nothing to do with politics.
The other nine did not attend.
Mr Little has in recent months met some legislators at Parliament Building in Harare and hotels for updates on what is happening behind the scenes in Zanu-PF ahead of its December 2014 elective National Congress.
This is despite of the frosty relations between Harare and Washington.
No comment could be obtained from the US embassy.