Hired thugs to target Mujuru
By THELMA CHIKWANHA, MUGOVE TAFIRENYIKA AND CHENGETAI ZVAUYA
HARARE – As the Zanu PF “elective” congress gets under way this week, thousands of youths and thugs are said to have been hired from around the country to heckle and harass embattled Vice President Joice Mujuru and her supporters during the damp squib gathering, the Daily News has been told.
The fear that violent thugs may be waiting in the wings to confront Mujuru and her perceived allies at the meeting was given impetus yesterday by controversial Harare youth league chairperson Godfrey Gomwe’s chilling threat to use all necessary means to stop them from attending the congress.
And it was confirmed yesterday that scores of Cabinet ministers and more than 100 Members of Parliament had not been accredited for the congress, which a miffed politburo member derisively called a “(President Robert) Mugabe praise and worship show”.
“There is no congress taking place this week. It’s just a Mugabe praise and worship show, that’s all.
“Reports also say Mai Mujuru’s (party) enemies have once again organised thugs to come and intimidate her and everyone else seen as sympathetic to her, just like they did at the politburo meeting a few weeks ago,” the senior party member said.
Some of the “banned” Cabinet ministers and MPs also told the Daily News that they were “scared to death” of attending the congress whose prestige and importance had been stripped away once Mugabe decided to amend Zanu PF’s constitution to give him powers to appoint the party’s senior officials.
Gomwe, a blind follower of First Lady Grace Mugabe and zealous member of the Emmerson Mnangagwa faction reiterated forcefully yesterday that Mujuru would not be allowed to attend the congress and sit close to Mugabe.
“She (Mujuru) knows what she did and she knows the consequences. If she wants to attend congress, she has to speak to the president.
“Look at what happened to the people implicated in Tsholotsho, they were expelled from the party and only came back after it was discovered that the reports were not true,” he said.
The feared youth league leader said members of his constituency would not sit back and allow Mujuru to “come close” to Mugabe because they allegedly feared for the safety of the nonagenarian.
“She is not going to be stoned or beaten up, but we are going to tell her that her plan to remove the president is unacceptable and we will not allow her near him.
“We need to protect our president. She will not get into the venue because of what she did,” Gomwe said, adding, “What is so special about Mujuru?
“What special powers does she have? Look at the past four vice presidents, they were very powerful men but none of them challenged the president. Why did she not follow their footsteps?”
If she dared to come to the venue of the gathering, he said, she would face the “consequences of her actions.”
The lapdog State media, which is controlled by hardline party apparatchiks loyal to Mnangagwa, has made sensational but murky claims that Mujuru, together with her allies, is plotting to oust assassinate Mugabe.
The claims have been supported by Grace who has made it clear repeatedly and openly that Mujuru must resign or risk being fired by her husband.
Over the past few weeks, the lickspittle State media has published loaded daily reports regarding her alleged corrupt activities and plots to oust and assassinate the president.
In addition, nine of the party’s 10 provincial chairpersons who are suspected of being loyal to the VP have been removed from office after being hit with controversial votes of no confidence.
In his interview with the Daily News yesterday, Gomwe also overtly threatened the popular daily.
“Imi Daily News munoitirei zvamuri kuita zvekunyora nyaya dzamunopiwa nevanhu ivavo? Munofanira kuziva kuti havasisina power ende zvichazokunetsai pamberi (Why are you guys at the Daily News writing stories that you are given by Mujuru and her allies? You will face the consequences because those people no longer have power)” he said.
Joseph Mapiki, the Zanu PF MP for Shamva North, said he would not be taking part in the congress as he had not been accredited.
Mapiki said there was tension in Mashonaland Central, characterised by a systematic smear campaign against all perceived Mujuru allies.
Guruve North legislator Criswell Mutematsaka, who has also not been accredited, expressed disappointment at being barred from attending the congress, describing his situation as “a difficult one” to take.
In Mashonaland East, the acting chairman Phineas Chihota, vowed that pro-Mujuru MPs from the province would not attend the congress.
“All those MPs from our province who were suspended are not attending the congress until their cases are finalised,” Chihota, who is also Seke legislator, said.
Tendai Makunde, who is MP for Murehwa North, and who has been in the provincial executive for more than 15 years, could not hide his displeasure at being barred from attending the congress, accusing Everisto Pfubvuti, a war veteran, of masterminding the ouster of several senior leaders in the province.
“I have been a political commissar for Mashonaland East for 15 years, but we have one war veteran who is refusing to accredit us, cancelling our names for no good reason.
“How can I attend the congress when I was not accredited?” he asked angrily.
Aquallinah Katsande of Mudzi South, and former Mashonaland East provincial chairlady, said she would not be attending the crucial event because “a dubious vote of no confidence was passed against me and some MPs in the province”.
Some Zanu PF MPs, who are part of the Zanu PF congress fundraising committee, said they were only helping with the logistics but would not be part of the proceedings.
“I am currently at the party headquarters finalising logistics for the event, but they said they do not want us at the congress, so I am not attending,” Felix Mhona of Chikomba Central said.
“I am doing my duties as assigned by my superiors to make the event a success since I am a member of the fundraising committee.”
In Manicaland, Enock Porusingazi, the MP for Chipinge South, who was slapped with a yet-to-be explained five-year suspension, is also not attending.
Porusingazi said he remained a loyal party cadre and would respect the decision of the party to leave him out in the cold.
“I would have wanted to come to congress but you know the problem of suspensions of provincial leaders and MPs we are experiencing. So they have refused to accredit me,” he said.
“I am a disciplined party member so I will wait for advice from the national chairman Simon Khaya Moyo.”
Ray Kaukonde, the ousted chairperson of Mashonaland East, who is accused of being the chief financier of the Mujuru camp, confirmed that he would not attend the congress.
He declined to comment further.
The aggrieved lawmakers who now stand barred from the congress accused party cadres who lost primary elections last year of “trying to launch a comeback through the back door”.
The run up to the congress has been characterised by a well-choreographed blitzkrieg against Mujuru and her sympathisers which has further divided the party.
Some of the Cabinet ministers perceived to be sympathetic to Mujuru include Nicholas Goche, Francis Nhema, Sylvester Nguni, Dzikamai Mavhaire, Walter Mzembi, Lazarus Dokora, Andrew Langa, Flora Bhuka, Olivia Muchena and Didymus Mutasa.
Almost all of these party heavyweights have also been blocked from Zanu PF’s powerful central committee.
Mujuru and Goche duly refused to submit their names for the Mashonaland Central committee elections.
The duo’s sensational abandonment of the Mashonaland Central elections came after hired thugs, who were baying for Goche’s blood, besieged the tempestuous provincial meeting in Bindura two weeks ago.
Some of the MPs and prominent politicians who will most likely miss the congress include Edgar Chidavaenzi, David Butau, Kenneth Musanhi, Temba Mliswa, Tendai Savanhu, Kudakwashe Bhasikiti, Washington Musvaire, Calisto Gwanetsa, Jason Machaya and Amos Midzi. Daily News