…Zivhu case opens can of worms
…Hungwe, Rugeje and Mangwana after Chadzamira’s head
By Upenyu Chaota
Factionalism in Zanu PF Masvingo province is getting nastier, with two sparring factions emerging to fight for the spoils of the November 2017 coup which toppled long-ruling tyrant Robert Mugabe.
One faction is allegedly linked to the disgruntled old guard which feels is being marginalised by the Minister of State for Masvingo provincial Affairs, Ezra Chadzamira, who is also the party’s provincial chairperson and Member of Parliament (MP) for Masvingo West.
The can of worms began to unravel last year when the Zanu PF provincial disciplinary committee recommended to the national disciplinary structures that Chivi South MP Killer Zivhu be expelled from the party for alleged acts of gross misconduct and undermining the authority of President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Sources, however, say Zivhu has found allies in the powerful First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa, Zanu PF national chairperson and Defense minister Oppah Muchinguri, politburo member Josaya Hungwe, former Zanu PF national political commissar Engelbert Rugeje and the party’s secretary for legal affairs in the politburo, Paul Mangwana.
Rugeje, an army major general at the time of the coup, was made national political commissar after the coup but only to be inexplicably removed and replaced by Defence deputy minister Victor Matemadanda as Mnangagwa consolidated his power by removing those seen to be close to his powerful deputy Constantino Chiwenga.
At provincial level, Rugeje, who hails from Bikita, is said to have always coveted the post of provincial chairperson and is unhappy with the post remaining in Chadzamira’s hands.
The recommendation to expel Zivhu from the party was made in August last year but the First Lady, Muchinguri and Mangwana are said to have stalled the process.
Though Zivhu was barred from conducting any party business in his constituency, he has remained surprisingly defiant.
Sources said the Chivi South MP is being used to push the agenda of the old guard which seeks to dislodge Chadzamira.
“Chadzamira is now a threat to many people in the province. He is too powerful and that is making a lot of people jealous. He occupies three powerful positions as party chairperson in the province, the provincial affairs minister and MP.
“He is being viewed as the one centre of power by most in his circles and they are plotting to weaken him. Chadzamira has now found himself surrounded by vultures who will take the first chance they get to go for the killer blow.
“Many politburo members do not like Chadzamira anymore and they are secretly plotting for a showdown. They want Chadzamira’s head and they will not rest until they take the chairmanship from him,” said one source.
Another source said that the old guard faction is using Zivhu to frustrate Chadzamira so that he can be left exposed.
“The fight has just begun and you are going to see fireworks soon. There is a lot of power behind Zivhu and only a blind person cannot see that. You do not defy the province when you have no powerful and superior backing.
“The old guard was looking for an opportune time to penetrate Masvingo and the Zivhu case was a fertile opportunity.
“Mangwana is the one advising Zivhu to be defiant assuring him that no harm will come his way. If you have observed of late, politburo members rarely show up at meetings chaired by Chadzamira or even PCCs,” said another source.
At last Sunday’s Zanu PF Provincial Coordinating Committee (PCC) meeting, only Rugeje showed up while other politburo members were nowhere to be found.
At a Unity Day function organised by Chadzamira at Chivi growth point on December 22, 2019, only Masvingo South MP Claudious Maronge, Chivi North MP Matthias Tongofa and his Chivi Central counterpart Ephraim Gwanongodza turned up while the other 22 reportedly stayed away.
Some of the MPs reportedly sympathised with a parallel function organised by the party’s national chief whip and Gutu South MP Pupurai Togarepi who is also said to be opposed to Chadzamira’s leadership. They, however, did not turn out for Togarepi’s function either in order to be seen as neutral and avoid exposing themselves to possible victimisation.
When contacted for comment, Rugeje told TellZim News that there were people who were out to soil his name. He said he had no special relationship with Zivhu other than meeting him at PCC meetings by chance.
“This is pure mudslinging at play. I do not have the power to protect Zivhu. There are people who just want to tarnish my name. These are the same people who are fomenting factionalism in the province. I know who is protecting Zivhu and cheering him on and I am sure you do also. He is being protected by the people from Chivi. I do not come from Chivi,” said Rugeje, in apparent reference to Hungwe and Mangwana, who are both from Chivi.
Zivhu recently threw mud into his enemies’ faces by posting on his WhatsApp status and across various other social media platforms an improvised hymn which he mockingly sings thanking God for protecting him from people whom he alleged to be tormenting him.
Chadzamira told the PCC last Sunday that Zanu PF members should stop abusing social media and warned party members against being used to divide the province by people from within and outside.
He said there were people not happy with the unity in Masvingo and were trying to destabilise the province.
“Whenever we have disputes within the party, we call properly constituted meetings and discuss our issues not use WhatsApp. We want to remain a one-party province. Nyaya dzefactionalism dzakaenda nanaMavhaire nguva yavo.
“We will not tolerate people who want to come and divide our people because of their personal interests. We want to remain united and respect our leadership. People should not abuse the respect accorded to them. We should know that the province belongs to the people of Masvingo,” said Chadzamira.
He castigated Zivhu’s defiant posture saying in the past, there were people who thought had been bigger than Zanu PF but only to be shocked when they got kicked out.
“We want people who wait for the finalisation of their disciplinary cases and see whether they come back and join others or they get kicked out.
“No one will free themselves from their sins. If you think you are well connected or Chadzamira thinks that he knows Cde Rugeje and he will protect him from his trespasses, there is no such thing. We should respect our disciplinary committee and the decisions they make. No one is more important than the other in Zanu PF.
“Mugabe tried to personalize Zanu PF by bragging that he formed the party but he died from the outside. Zanu PF is for the people. It’s not for one person. We should not be separated by people with hidden motives. We know that people are not happy with our unity. The fact that Masvingo remains number one always does not sink well with some people and that is why they try to sponsor divisions,” said Chadzamira.
The PCC recommended for the quick finalization of the Zivhu case so that a page can be turned.