President Robert Mugabe's purge of party officials loyal to his Vice President Joice Mujuru continued on Wednesday with a mystery group of 'war veteran elders' calling for the dismissal of party spokesman Rugare Gumbo.

In an interview that was aired on ZBC TV on Monday night, Gumbo had said the Zanu PF congress would provide "a clear direction" on the succession issue.

"We have to have a clear direction as to what we want to do in terms of succession, how do we do it? What are the procedures and so on and so forth. Eeh, some suggest that we should have appointment of leaders, the President has been very clear on that one.

"He said he who aspires to a high post must be elected by people. People are the critical element in the selection of leaders, so let's stick to the constitution, let's stick to the procedures as we go to congress."

"If we want to amend the constitution let's amend the constitution so that it gives us a clearer picture of how we want things done in the country. So these are my concerns, not the concerns aah allegations unsubstantiated, allegations which do not make any sense," Gumbo said in the interview.

But in the vicious factional fighting that has rocked Zanu PF the interview has been twisted to mean Gumbo and the Joice Mujuru faction want to use the December congress to topple President Mugabe.

The "war veteran elders" spokesperson, Victor Matemadanda said Gumbo has shown a complete disregard of objectivity in discharging his duties hence should not be allowed to continue as the party spokesperson.

"It is common knowledge that Rugare Gumbo and his gang intend to split from Zanu PF if they do not get their desired posts in the Politburo. We want him to abandon that futile plan," said Matemadanda.
 
The war veteran elders also castigated some politicians for protecting "divisive and corrupt elements" in particular the beleaguered Mashonaland East Provincial Chairperson, Ray Kaukonde.

On the issue of the ousted Masvingo Provincial Chairperson, Callisto Gwanetsa, the war veteran elders warned Dzikamai Mavhaire against defending the booted out chair.

"The Politburo should not waste time on the booted out chairpersons. Instead, the party should now focus on congress matters and not the status of these divisive elements," added Matemadanda.

Other provincial chairpersons shown the exit door on allegations of fanning factionalism, among other things, are Jason Machaya (Midlands), Andrew Langa (Matabeleland South), Amos Midzi (Harare) and Temba Mliswa (Mashonaland West).

In the Women's League, Constance Shamu from Mashonaland West and Shylet Uyoyo from Masvingo have also been voted out.

Among some of the recommendations, the "war veteran elders" want the Zanu PF Department of Commissariat be dissolved, accusing it of being a spectator at a time the party is being torn apart by divisive elements.

The "elders" also highlighted the need for a thorough vetting of all those who want to contest for central committee positions so as to weed out corrupt elements.

Zanu PF is currently rocked by vicious infighting but instead of his usual balancing act President Mugabe has taken sides. The 90 year old appears to be supporting a faction of the party led by Emmerson Mnangagwa and is openly helping the Justice Minister to destroy his rival in Mujuru.

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