Veterans of Zimbabwe’s war of independence have called on the Politburo, the command and control of the ruling Zanu-PF, to dismiss and suspend more of the dissident members of the party who are “covertly pushing for the removal” of President Robert Mugabe.
The veterans’ call follows last Thursday’s (Nov. 13) Politburo’s suspension of Zanu-PF secretary for information and publicity, Cde Rugare Gumbo, and Cde Enoch Porusingazi and the dismissal of former Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association chairman Jabulani Sibanda.
The Veterans welcomed the action as confirming that the “centre still holds”.
The WAR veterans Friday warned Zanu-PF secretary for administration, Cde Didymus Mutasa, against associating with anti-President Mugabe elements or “face the axe”.
They also want Politburo members Cdes Tendai Savanhu and Flora Buka investigated for destabilising the party and have challenged national political commissar Cde Webster Shamu to pull up his socks, or face the chop.
Cde Cephas Msipa, the war veterans said, must “behave” like someone who has retired from active politics by desisting from factional politics.
The war vets also warned wayward senior party officials to repent or face the same fate.
Spokesperson for the ZNLWA Committee of Elders Cde Victor Mutemadanda advocated that it was time to clean up Zanu-PF.
He castigated Cde Mutasa and Zanu-PF Manicaland provincial chairperson Ambassador John Mvundura for attending a meeting addressed by Jabulani Sibanda in Manicaland last month, saying they offered the expelled war veterans leader moral support.
“Cde Mutasa should avoid mingling with ‘small people’. He should not attend such meetings. The direction the party is taking is now clearer, adding:”By their attendance, they morally supported Sibanda.”
Analysts urged Cde Mutasa to read the message in the reprimand of Cde Mvundura because as the most senior party member at the function, he was more culpable than Cde Mvundura on three accounts:
“Firstly attending a function that the Government had cancelled, secondly remaining mum when Jabulani Sibanda made scandalous allegations against the First Family (yet he is Presidential Affairs Minister) instead of reprimanding him on the spot, and thirdly accommodating Jabulani by echoing his misplaced sentiments against the public media.”
Cde Mutasa reportedly claimed he had not heard that the reburial of the comrades found stuffed down a mining shaft had been postponed yet Minister Mohadi’s statement had been extensively covered by the print and electronic media with Jabulani himself vowing to defy the postponement in his tirade at the venue.
The war veterans applauded the Politburo’s decision to suspend Cdes Gumbo, Porusingazi and some provincial chairpersons.
“We commend the decisions that were taken by the Politburo yesterday (Thursday) regarding especially Rugare Gumbo and chairpersons that were suspended but we are saying there are more still remaining in the party.
“Cde Savanhu is brewing all these problems in Harare. We think he must be brought to book. He behaves like a super Messiah in Harare. We are cleaning the party,” he said.
The war veterans accused Cde Bhuka of “kidnapping” a group of women during district elections in Gokwe in August saying such behaviour was not expected of a Politburo member.
“We cannot be silent on that. She cannot go scot free. It is a crime and she must be investigated. As freedom fighters we want sanity in the party and that must be corrected,” said Cde Mutemadanda.
The war veterans said Cde Bhuka should be barred from contesting in Central Committee elections.
“That was a transgression. We do not expect such behaviour from a person in the Politburo,” he said.
They also took a swipe at Cde Shamu for “sleeping on duty”.
“The commissariat department has let the party down. The commissariat has been sleeping for some time. He has been quiet yet he should be emphasizing the party ideology. He was silent because the faction he supports was on the offensive. We want a political commissar who builds the party and not a faction,” said Cde Mutemadanda.
On Jabulani Sibanda, he said: “He was expelled from the party a long time ago. He was not re-admitted. We are re-affirming that he should go forever.”
Zimbabwe National Liberation War Collaborators Association national chairperson Cde Pupurai Togarepi said the expulsion of Sibanda and suspension of Gumbo, Porusingazi and some provincial chairpersons showed that President Mugabe was fully in charge.
“This shows to all that the centre is still holding. The party is still intact. The membership of Zanu-PF is still in control of the party. People were watching and people reacted and they paid the price. Some people in Zanu-PF felt by being up there in the Politburo, they now owned Zanu-PF and they could separate people. People are solidly behind the leadership of President Mugabe. People will not allow those with devious intentions to destroy the party,” he said.
Added Cde Togarepi: “We cannot keep people who antagonize the President… We cannot accept that. What happened is a lesson that the party is bigger than individuals. It is only one way that is relevant to the revolution – be closer to the leader of the revolution. We are revolutionaries; we are not like any other political party. You mess around with the revolution, we dump you. The peg is the President. The Politburo just responded to people’s sentiments.