By Roy Chikara
Masvingo, October 7, 2013 – An irate Zanu PF legislator and businessman, Edmond Mhere has kicked out his party from his building where the party’s provincial offices are housed in protest over being snubbed for a Cabinet post in President Robert Mugabe’s administration.
Zanu PF party insiders told Radio VOP that Mhere, who is the legislator for Masvingo Central constituency and the party’ provincial secretary for administration was eying a cabinet post and could not stomach the exclusion by the party’s ageing leader.
Informed sources charged that soon after the announcement of the cabinet last month which largely comprised of Zanu PF’s recycled deadwood, Mhere wrote to the ruling party informing its leaders to cease operating from his building located at number 10 Hellet Street in the city centre.
Although Mhere declined to comment on the issue referring all the questions to the party’s provincial chairperson, Lovemore Matuke, party officials said Mhere was frustrated by his omission and decided to chuck out the party that has been occupying his building as party provincial headquarters for over four years.
“Mhere has been lobbying party bigwigs in the province to convince President Mugabe to appoint him in the cabinet but it did not work. So when he realised that he was left out he was angry and blamed the provincial chefs for cheating on him and punished the party by evicting them from his office building,” said an insider who declined to mentioned for fear of victimisation.
It is also said he was expecting to be rewarded after helping the party for over four years with free offices as Zanu PF was not paying rentals.
“I can’t say anything on that issue. I urge you to get hold of Cde Matuke our chairman, he will tell you everything and what I have done for the party,” said Mhere.
Zanu PF provincial leader, Matuke confirmed that the party has been told to move out of the building.
“We are not bitter about that because this man extended a great deal of help to the party for four years. He offered us the offices for free without paying any rentals, electricity or water bills over the period. He needs to use his building for business now and we understand that but as for the issue of cabinet post appointment I not aware of that. What I know is he needs to do business with his properties and we thank him so much for his help,” Matuke said.
But party officials said the eviction of Zanu PF has not gone down well with a section of supporters and officials who accuse him of punishing the party.
The officials query the rationale behind Mhere’s decision to notify the party to move out because his aspirations to become a Minister were not realised.
“The move could be a blow to Zanu PF’s operations in the province as the party does not have its own buildings or offices in the province. This could force the party secretariat to operate from home or from the streets,” said another party official.
Mhere and Matuke are awaiting Zanu PF disciplinary action for allegedly signing papers approving Munyaradzi Kereke’s nomination papers for the July 31 parliamentary elections. The Zanu PF politburo recently confirmed Kereke’s expulsion from the ruling party because he had contested elections even though he had not been a party member for the stipulated five years. A by-election for the Bikita West constituency is pending.
This is not the first time that Zanu PF has been chucked out of offices in buildings owned by party officials.
Soon after the 2008 elections, Edison Zvobgo junior sacked the ruling party from his building after he had lost primary elections against Mhere in Masvingo Central constituency, accusing the provincial leadership of rigging the polls against him.