Ousted Zanu(PF) national political commissar, Webster Shamu, is still in the line of fire despite having been reduced to an ordinary card-carrying member of the revolutionary party.Shamu who fell from grace towards the end of last year is the primary target of an internal investigation into the flawed distribution of Zanu (PF) membership cards and party regalia unearthed in the past two years.
The party, shaken to the core by internecine infighting, wants to unravel the mystery behind about 300 000 membership cards that have not been accounted for.
With each card costing US$2, indications are that over US$600 000 could have been embezzled by officials in the commissariat department.
Zanu(PF) is also under pressure to act on allegations that the party’s secretariat, headed by Shamu at the time, made a killing from selling party regalia sourced from the Far East, which should have been distributed for free ahead of the July 2013 polls.
While the investigations are still underway, party hawks are eager to build a strong case against Shamu, whom they still view as a potential threat in Mashonaland West Province, which happens to be President Robert Mugabe’s home area.
Shamu, who declined to comment after being contacted this week, is a victim of a vicious purge that targeted Joice Mujuru, the former vice president, and a coterie of her allies.
As the party’s national political commissar, Shamu presided over what many viewed as the engine room of ZANU-PF’s activities, which leads in mobilising grassroots support and aligning party structures to the vision and aspiration of the party’s leadership.
Party procedure normally dictates that once the audit has been completed, the current head of the commissariat, Saviour Kasukuwere, should make recommendations to the party’s leadership on the way forward.
The party would have several options at its disposal in the event that someone has been found wanting; one of which would be to institute disciplinary proceedings.The other option would be to press charges against the offender(s), which may result in prosecution.
ZANU-PF insiders said there is a groundswell of anger against Shamu for his role in propping up Mujuru, the biggest casualty of the purge.
They said, given a choice, the ZANU-PF leadership would not hesitate to expel Shamu from the party in order to completely remove his influence.
Despite losing his position in ZANU-PF, Shamu, also previously known as Charles Ndlovu having changed his name during the liberation war (1972–1980), as did many others who used pseudonyms to mask their identities, is still the Member of Parliament for Chegutu.
In the last six months, Zanu(PF) has shown the door to four of its members, who had remained vocal, protesting their “unfair” treatment.
These include Rugare Gumbo, former national party spokesperson; Jabulani Sibanda, former head of the war veterans; Didymus Mutasa, former secretary for administration and Temba Mliswa, former chairman of Mashonaland West province.
All these officials were linked to Mujuru, accused of plotting to oust President Mugabe from power through unconstitutional means.
Soon, there would be by-elections in Mutasa and Mliswa’s constituents.
About two weeks ago, Kasukuwere circulated a memo to all 10 provinces stating that the party had halted the issuance of electronic membership cards without disclosing reasons.
Kasukuwere is said to have encountered serious irregularities in the issuance of the membership cards during his tour of the provinces after which he immediately suspended the exercise.
ZANU-PF uses the cards to mobilise membership and keep track of its supporters at all levels.
The issuance of cards is also key in raising funds for the party.
Asked to explain why he ordered the suspension of cards, Kasukuwere had this to say: “We are migrating to a much more improved platform that will capture data at grassroots level and simultaneously store it at the Headquarters. We seek to have a robust platform so that data capturing is done once permanently. Professor (Jonathan) Moyo is handling that.” Moyo is the Zanu(PF) secretary for science and technology.
Shamu, along with his wife Constance, is also accused of selling party regalia which was supposed to be distributed freely.
Both have since lost their party positions. Constance had risen to the position of Mashonaland West provincial chairperson of the Women’s League.
Acting Mashonaland West provincial chairman, Ziyambi Ziyambi, said no position had yet been taken on Shamu as the investigations were still on-going.
“I can confirm that there is an audit in the province with regards to what happened to the cards. This is the one which will inform everything else. We have not taken a position against Cde Shamu at the moment,” he said.
Zanu(PF) spokesman, Simon Khaya-Moyo declined to comment on the matter.
He said: “That is the responsibility of the commissariat department. Ask Cde Kasukuwere.”