By Fungi Kwaramba and Blessings Mashaya
Embattled acting Zanu PF chairperson for Mashonaland Central Dickson Mafios says party members who recently demonstrated against him and his brother Saviour Kasukuwere included “desperate” followers of former vice president Joice Mujuru.
He also told the Daily News yesterday that he was still firmly in charge in the burning province despite the ongoing efforts of his party enemies to unseat him — revealing that he had chaired a regional executive meeting on Monday which had been attended by members of both the women’s league and youth wing.
“We had 81 people who attended the meeting that we held, unlike the other group who were only 18 when they claimed to have expelled us. We had a quorum and they didn’t.
“We have also since discovered that the people who demonstrated against us came from Epworth, Chitungwiza and Budiriro and were brought by someone who was expelled from the party,” Mafios said.
He also claimed that the organisers of last week’s demonstrations had duped artisanal miners from Shamva into believing that they would get mining claims if they took part in the demonstrations.
“They (the demonstrators) were people who were expelled from the party, and people from the MDC. We have the pictures of these people and thus, it was a coalition of demonstrators being funded to demonstrate against us.
“We suspect that there are attempts to infiltrate the party and weaken it in the province, which has been the strongest for Zanu PF. Despite the demonstrations, we remain strong and loyal to the president,” he said.
This comes as President Robert Mugabe last week stopped his party members from airing their grievances through demonstrations and via State media.
It also comes after Kasukuwere — who is Local Government minister and Zanu PF’s national political commissar — hinted a fortnight ago that there was a third force at play in the party.
According to Mafios, the problems besetting the province started after the ouster of Mujuru on untested allegations of plotting to assassinate and unseat Mugabe from power through foul means in 2014.
“If you look at the MPs who attended the demonstrations, you will see that they had connections with Mujuru. It does not augur well that Gamatox members are joining these demonstrations,” he said.
With Mugabe expected to visit the restive province anytime soon, Mafios has also directed that all districts organise executive meetings to prepare for the visit.
At Monday’s meeting, it was also revealed that Mafios’ deputy, Kazembe Kazembe — who did not attend the get-together — was told by the party’s politburo not to masquerade as the acting regional chairperson.
“The province has decided to take the people who participated in those demonstrations head-on, and bring them to order. They did not have the mandate to do that and they should therefore be punished,” Mafios said.
However, Kazembe told the Daily News yesterday that he would wait for due process to take place before talking about developments in the province.
Asked about the allegations that he was being used to fulfil a certain factional agenda, Kazembe said, “Wait for due process … We are following the party’s procedures”. Daily News