IN an unprecedented move, Zanu-PF secretary for Information and Publicity Cde Rugare Gumbo yesterday called a Press conference to brief the media on Wednesday's Politburo meeting hardly 24 hours after briefing journalists as he emerged from the crunch meeting on Wednesday evening.
Cde Gumbo urged the media to be "positive and objective "in their coverage of VP Mujuru, adding that The Herald had been "unprofessional" in the coverage of VP Mujuru whom he said had "fantastic leadership qualities".
"It was unfortunately quite shocking to see The Herald devoting quite a bit of pages on VP Mujuru. I also saw the private media, Daily News had an extensive coverage of VP Mujuru, but The Herald was particularly negative, damaging and unprofessional. This is our public media which is supposed to report positively, but it decided to go to town about allegations which have not been proven in court or otherwise," he said.
Cde Gumbo, however, did not comment on the Daily News and News Day's coverage of First Lady Amai Grace Mugabe and when challenged on that he was evasive.
"We are not concerned about the private press because they have their agenda. We are more worried about The Herald because it is our paper and it should portray what we think is happening in the party. We do not mind about the Daily News," Cde Rugare Gumbo said.
Turning to allegations of abuse of office, corruption, extorting shareholding from companies and demanding bribes that were levelled against VP Mujuru by the First Lady, Cde Gumbo said the allegations were false and the work of people bent on destroying Zanu-PF from within.
Ironically, this was the same defense raised by VP Mujuru as she attacked the media for its exposes on the salarygate scandal.
Amai Mugabe during her "Meet the People" tour, accused VP Mujuru of planning to topple President Mugabe, corruption, illicit diamond deals and demanding 10 percent shareholding from companies.
Cde Gumbo said VP Mujuru deserved "respect and protection".
"These allegations are false, are the work of forces who want to bring about regime change. What people must bear in mind is that VP Mujuru, whether you like it or not, as of now is Vice President of Zanu-PF and the country. Until any changes take place, she remains Vice President. We cannot have the Vice President of the country being treated the way she has been treated," he said.
Cde Gumbo said during the Politburo meeting, VP Mujuru defended herself well.
"The VP made a powerful and lucid narrative about how she joined the liberation struggle in 1974 and linked up with President Mugabe in Mozambique in 1975. She noted that she has never sought any position in the party and Government. She was always ready to take this or that post in the party or Government. She spoke well and eloquently with dignity and maturity, demonstrating her fantastic leadership qualities," Cde Gumbo said.
Cde Gumbo said some people within the party were planning to destroy the revolutionary outfit from within with a view to effect regime change.
"These elements were to some extent identified in the debate in the Politburo. It is unfortunate that we are witnessing the Tsholotsho 2 Declaration. The people who were involved in Tsholotsho 1 in 2004 are now being involved in Tsholotsho 2 in 2014. The aim has always been and continues to be to bring down the Government of Zimbabwe. It is not only to bring down President Mugabe, VP Mujuru; it's bringing down the entire legacy of the liberation struggle," Cde Gumbo said.
Asked to name the elements, Cde Gumbo said: "You know them. There were six chairmen who were suspended in 2004 and they are still there. There is nothing new about those people.
"All those who constituted the faction of Mnangagwa in one way or the other were involved in Tsholotsho 1 and now they are involved in Tsholotsho 2. As a party, we cannot accept these things."
Cde Gumbo said the "assault" on provincial chairpersons was an indication that there was a hidden agenda.
"These are people who were elected, who are supported by the masses and they are popular. Even if you ask for an election, they will win because their cause is just and they are not involved in some of these plots. There have been lies thrown around that there are elements who are in the Mujuru faction who want to fight against the President. When Mai Mujuru was voted, we supported her and we follow what the President said. If there has been a change of heart perhaps we will be told what has happened," he said.
However, several Politburo members who spoke to The Herald said what Cde Gumbo said were his own contributions to Wednesday's Politburo debate which were, however, challenged by other members.