By Mugove Tafirenyika
HARARE – As top Zanu PF officials continue to throw bricks at each other, the party’s national political commissar, Webster Shamu has spoken out at accusations that his remarks at a party function last week were tantamount to a coup saying he did everything above board.
Following Shamu’s reference to party secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa as acting national chairman last week, party chairman Simon Khaya Moyo was quick to remind Shamu that it was the prerogative of President Robert Mugabe to appoint an acting chairman.
In a tirade aimed at Shamu, Khaya Moyo told the State media that only when the substantive chairman is out of the country was an acting chair appointed — suggesting that the party political commissar had jumped the gun.
“I was in the country and such appointments are only made when one is out of the country, Khaya Moyo said.
“When you are out of the country, obviously the president can appoint someone to act.”
But yesterday Shamu, who is in charge of the ruling party’s structures, dismissed Khaya Moyo’s assertion maintaining that there was nothing untoward about his conduct.
Shamu told the Daily News that instead party protocol required that in the absence of the national chairman, it is the secretary for administration who is the next senior member.
In written responses, Shamu did not even mention the need for Mugabe to make the appointment first as suggested by Khaya Moyo, saying the party had “clearly defined structures”.
“The position of secretary for administration falls immediately after that of Zanu PF national chairman, Cde SK Moyo and party protocol dictates that in the absence of the national chairman, the next most senior member of the party is the secretary for administration,” Shamu said.
Shamu’s remarks during party celebrations to mark the first anniversary caused consternation among party hawks who felt that the party political commissar was making a statement in support of Mutasa who has declared interest to succeed Khaya Moyo who is gunning for the post of second vice present at the party’s elective congress in December.
Ironically, Shamu, Mutasa and Khaya Moyo are all believed to be in the faction allegedly led by vice president Joice Mujuru in the race to succeed Mugabe.
Justice minister Emmerson Mnangagwa reportedly leads a rival faction but they both deny the allegations.
Shamu’s insistence that there was nothing untoward about his calling Mutasa acting national chairman as he was the most senior party member available, resonates with the assertion initially made by Rugare Gumbo, the party spokesperson.
Gumbo initially said it was not unusual for the secretary for administration to act in the absence of the substantive chairman.
He however, made a dramatic U-turn when he rephrased his sympathy for Shamu saying the statement had been made in jest claiming he thought it was “the joke of the day”.
Shamu also tried to play down the discomfort his remarks had caused in the party despite the glaring inconsistencies in their comprehension of party protocol saying it did not amount to discord.
“Once again as I said in your first question, the media have very fertile imagination.
However, the revolutionary Zanu PF party is very clear about its leadership structure led by his Excellency the President and first secretary Cde RG Mugabe, occupied by the seasoned revolutionary cadres who will not be swayed by the agenda setting of imperialist forces,” said Shamu. Daily News