By Lance Guma
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HARARE – Presidential Affairs Minister Didymus Mutasa has angrily dismissed a Herald newspaper report claiming that Bikita West MP Munyaradzi Kereke had not been expelled by Zanu PF.
Herald editor Caesar Zvayi this week penned an article claiming that “Zanu PF did not resolve to expel Kereke from Parliament even though some senior party members made pronouncements in the media to that effect.”
But Mutasa who is the Zanu PF Secretary for Administration hit back saying “Crazy people are also found at The Herald; how can a person occupying my position just do something from his head?”
Zanu PF attempted to expel Kereke from Parliament arguing the party had expelled him and under the law he should lose the seat. Early this month party spokesman Rugare Gumbo even said the Politburo had endorsed the expulsion.
“On Kereke, the party’s decision still stands, he is expelled. So we have advised the Speaker of the National Assembly, Jacob Mudenda, to declare the Bikita West post vacant and a by-election must be held.”
Gumbo also announced that Zanu PF district officials Lovemore Matuke and Edmond Mhere, who signed Kereke’s papers, “are going to face disciplinary action for what they did.”
Kereke however approached the Constitutional Court challenging his ejection and arguing that he had ceased to be a Zanu PF member by the time he was elected on July 31.
Although Zanu PF had disqualified Kereke from contesting on a party ticket in the controversial July 31 election, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission accepted his nomination because district leaders had signed his papers.
In his court papers Kereke argued that:
“The party did not give me any sponsorship. I financed my own campaign whilst the party sponsored one Elias Musakwa, who got a new motor vehicle, regalia and other campaign material.
“I did not get similar support from the party given that I had been expelled. The moment the party advised me to stop using party regalia, I complied and discontinued the use thereof,” he argued.
Analysts say the case was nothing but a power struggle between the Emmerson Mnangagwa and Joice Mujuru factions within Zanu PF. Kereke is backed by the Mnangagwa faction which ultimately prevailed. The embarrassing U-turn by Zanu PF was sugar coated as an out of court settlement by the state media.
Others however hold the view that Zanu PF wanted to avoid a by-election in Bikita West as this would have re-applied pressure on the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission and Registra General’s Office to make available the contentious voters’ roll used in the July 31 elections this year.