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Kasukuwere's world crumbles

by Staff reporter
04 Apr 2017 at 06:23hrs | Views

ZANU-PF political commissar Saviour Kasukuwere's political career hangs in the balance after ruling party structures in his home province, Mashonaland Central, turned against him and staged a demonstration in Bindura yesterday demanding his expulsion from the ruling party, but President Robert Mugabe seemed to offer him a lifeline.

About 1 000 demonstrators, comprised mostly of Zanu-PF youths, women and war veterans, brought the small mining town to a standstill, as they accused Kasukuwere of plotting Mugabe's ouster, setting up parallel structures, fanning factionalism and regionalism.

Eight Zanu-PF parliamentarians from the province - Nicholas Goche, Kenneth Musanhi, Remigious Matangira, Christopher Chitindi, Joseph Mapiki, Kazembe Kazembe, Walter Kanhanga and Monica Mavhunga - participated in the procession that snaked through the town's streets before the demonstrators were addressed by different speakers at Bindura Showgrounds.

Similar demonstrations were held in Gweru, where party supporters accused Kasukuwere of turning Zanu-PF into his private project.
The protests are reportedly set to continue in the capital tomorrow when Zanu-PF politburo members are scheduled to meet over issues bedevilling the party.

Yesterday's political drama, however, later took on another twist when Mugabe told Cabinet ministers in the capital that demonstrations were not a panacea to party problems.

"There is need to follow party structures and hierarchy without going to the Press or engaging in demonstrations," he said shortly after his ministers presented him with a special gym and massage chair as his belated 93rd birthday present at State House.

In Bindura, Zanu-PF youths, women and members of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans' Association (ZNLWVA) brought the small mining town to a standstill, chanting slogans denigrating Kasukuwere and his brother, provincial chairperson, Dickson Mafios.

The protesters then handed over a petition to provincial vice-chairperson, Kazembe, who, in turn, asked central committee member, Martin Mavhangira to take it to the party's top leadership.

"We, the masses (Zanu-PF supporters) in Mashonaland Central, as the custodians of the party, have decided to petition our national leadership to call upon you, our President, as the appointing authority, to fire or expel Kasukuwere, Mafios and Wonder Mashange from their positions," the petition read in part.

Kasukuwere and his acolytes are accused of "planning to topple the President, fanning factionalism and promoting regionalism".

"Insulting and disrespecting the party leadership, Kasukuwere is the one who tasked Sarah Mahoka and Mandi Chimene to attack Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa at a meeting convened at his ComOil offices," the petition said, adding the Zanu-PF commissar was also guilty of forcibly taking mining claims and threatening journalists.

The demonstrators carried placards with different messages mainly aimed at Kasukuwere and Mafios: "This thug must fall, Mafios must fall. Down with parallel structures. Kasukuwere and Dickson (Mafios), Zanu-PF is not your property."

War veterans' provincial chairman, Sam Parirenyatwa said the former fighters had made their position clear on Kasukuwere.

"We have long realised that the man is a problem. Our problem was thrust upon the party by Mashonaland Central and it is this province that must come up with a solution," he said to wild applause.

"Mashonaland Central has brought this snake that is destroying our party. We have made ourselves clear that this political commissar is out of his depth and has no idea of the party ideology and procedures."

Mafios reportedly fled the party's rented offices at the showgrounds, with the war veterans' leadership announcing they had taken over.

Mavhangira claimed 14 youths aligned to Kasukuwere's camp had been arrested after they allegedly attempted to block the protest march, but police in Bindura could not be reached to confirm the reports.

"Kasukuwere and his group had sent youths to disrupt this demonstration. They stopped eight trucks carrying people from Mt Darwin, his home area, from coming here," he said.

"But we realised it quickly and asked police to arrest the thugs until we are done with our programme."

In Gweru, the placard-waving supporters accused Kasukuwere of working with Eunice Sandi-Moyo and Mahoka to discredit the work of First Lady Grace Mugabe.

The provincial women's league later presented a petition to provincial administration secretary, Perseverance Zhou, calling for Kasukuwere's ouster.

"Midlands women and youth leagues are saying: Kasukuwere, what kind of PC (political commissar) are you working against the interests of First Lady Grace Mugabe?" part of the petition read.

"Kasukuwere, you have destroyed the party. You are good at firing people from the party, but how many (people) have you, as the political commissar, brought to the party?"

Gweru businesswoman, Smelly Dube was also caught in the crossfire, as she was accused of corruption and using her money to destroy the party.

Meanwhile, a Zanu-PF-aligned youth empowerment group, Zimbabwe Entrepreneurs Youth Action (Zeya), has thrown its weight behind the First Family and Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa, urging Mugabe to decimate the G40 faction and clip Kasukuwere's wings.

Zeya president, James Pande told NewsDay yesterday that Zanu-PF youths no longer trusted Kasukuwere's leadership style.

"The G40 cabal must fall. It's high time President Robert Mugabe clipped his (Kasukuwere's) wings . . . he must not hesitate to fire people like him. He has complained so many times about Kasukuwere. Who is he to undermine the First Family and Vice-President Mnangagwa? Kasukuwere should go because as the youths, we have absolutely no reason to support him or defend a selfish man," Pande said.

Kasukuwere could not be reachable for comment yesterday as his mobile phone went unanswered.
Source - newsday