Former minister of sports and recreation, Andrew Langa, who was unceremoniously dismissed last month by President Robert Mugabe, is now fighting for his political life as war veterans and members of Zanu(PF) Women’s League in Matabeleland South province push to have him recalled from Parliament.
The Financial Gazette understands that the Matabeleland South province is in the process of drafting a petition which would be sent to the ruling party headquarters this month. The petition would explicitly demand Langa’s dismissal from Parliament.
If successful, the push to have Langa, who is the Insiza North legislator, recalled would sound the death-knell on the man’s political career.
More significantly, Langa’s recall could ignite an avalanche of mass recalls of axed former Zanu(PF) bigwigs who had lost everything in the wake of the party purges last year and were holding onto the cold comfort that their positions in Parliament were still safe.
A Parliamentarian can be recalled if he is either fired or crosses the floor to join another political party other than the one he/she assumed office through.
Political observers indicate that while many axed Zanu(PF) members escaped the parliamentary purge and continue to represent the ruling party in Parliament, President Mugabe is now expected to wield the axe against them.
Another mass recall would mean a new round of by-elections for the cash-strapped administration. Government may fail to support these by-elections as they were not budgeted for by Treasury.
Langa’s world appears to be steadily collapsing ever since he was first linked last year to a faction sympathetic to former vice-president, Joice Mujuru.
The Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association Matabeleland South provincial deputy political commissar, Earnest Ncube, said Langa should be recalled from Parliament with immediate effect.
“We know that Langa has been holding secret meetings with non-governmental organisations, who are advising him on how he will return to active politics in the province following his suspension. He has a circle of followers who are still in the party structures who feed him information about what is happening in the party. He must be expelled because the party belongs to the people not individuals,” said Ncube.
An insider privy to developments in Matabeleland South, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the push to remove Langa from Parliament was being done by persons who had seen a “low hanging fruit and wanted to finish him off”, ahead of the 2018 general elections.
Langa, a former Matabeleland South provincial chairman, lost the leadership of the province at the height of “vote-of-no confidence” exercises passed on provincial leaders across the country last year. Relinquishing the leadership of the party in Matabeleland South province may have been a blow to Langa, but it was a lighter punishment in comparison to the two-year suspension he was given by Zanu(PF)’s Politburo in June this year.
Until his suspension in June, alongside 38 other former Zanu(PF) officials, it had seemed like Langa had been one of the few lucky ones to escape the purges.
His sudden axing by President Mugabe from government, without reasons given, was largely seen by political observers as a manoeuvre to make Langa a public spectacle and embarrass him openly, given that a Cabinet reshuffle had been made a week before his removal from office.
Reginald Gola, a war veteran, described Langa as a disgrace to the province who had failed to make impact during his time in government.
“He is a mediocre Parliamentary candidate with zero ministerial calibre. He owes his existence to the mercy of President Mugabe. He carries no CV of his own and besides ZANU-PF, no other company can employ him,” Gola charged.
It is understood that through his young brother, Johnson Langa, the older Langa is, however, still keeping tabs on what is happening within the ruling party structures in the Matabeleland South province.
“He still controls the councillors and they all report to him. We want the district leadership structure to be dissolved as they are still working with him…Although Johnson is a provincial leader, we want them to know that in the province, he is not wanted,” Ncube said.
The Women’s league deputy political commissar for Insiza North, Beauty Moyo, said divisions were rife in the party because of Langa.
“Recalling Langa is the only thing that would clip his wings,” she pointed out.
Langa has kept a low profile since his axing from government and remained mum on his future plans.