The Zanu-PF Mashonaland West provincial executive has suspended its secretary for information and publicity, Ambassador Christopher Mutsvangwa, for failing to attend committee meetings consistently. Ambassador Mutsvangwa, who is also Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister and Norton National Assembly member, was suspended together with Hurungwe North legislator and provincial executive member Cde Reuben Marumahoko.
The executive is already moving to replace them with representatives from their constituencies, but, nonetheless, wants to recommend Ambassador Mutsvangwa for a position on the Zanu-PF Central Committee.
Ambassador Mutsvangwa rubbished the suspension, saying the decision had been overtaken by a Politburo resolution regarding the suspension of party leaders.
Cde Marumahoko could not be reached for comment.
The committee, led by Cde Temba Mliswa, also planned to suspend all top six members of the provincial Women's League executive, chaired by Cde Constance Shamu.
It appeared unlikely, though, that the six would be suspended, following last Wednesday's Politburo meeting where Zanu-PF President and First Secretary Cde Mugabe advocated the reinstatement of suspended youth leaders.
The meeting also resolved to thwart victimisation of some youth leaders, following the suspension of Mashonaland West Provincial Youth League chair Cde Vengai Musengi and his Harare counterpart, Cde Godfrey Gomwe, on allegations of misusing party funds and insubordination, respectively.
The two accused the main provincial executives for meddling in youth affairs, and victimising them for supporting the nomination of First Lady Amai Grace Mugabe to the post of Secretary for Women's Affairs.
Cde Shamu and her colleagues stand accused of "de-campaigning" fellow committee member Cde Sarah Mahoka in the race for a National Women's League executive position. Cde Mahoka was eventually elevated to national secretary for finance.
Zanu-PF Mashonaland West Provincial chairman Cde Temba Mliswa maintained that Cdes Mutsvangwa and Marumahoko's suspensions stand inspite of the Politburo decision to reinstate the youth leaders.
He said they were suspended in line with standing regulations that recommend such action against committee members who fail to attend meetings more than three consecutive times. A provincial executive meeting held in Chinhoyi on Monday took this decision, he added.
"Article 29 of the party constitution says that a member who fails to attend the meetings on three consecutive occasions faces suspension," he said.
Cde Kindness Paradza – the provincial secretary for administration – weighed in, saying the Zanu-PF constitution was clear on such matters. He said the two positions would be filled in due course.
"Article 29 (Chapter 4) (Section 249) of the constitution says that any member holding office in any organ of the party who absents himself or herself from any meeting on more than three occasions without reasonable cause may, on a resolution of the relevant organ, lose office. In the case of Cde Mutsvangwa, he has not attended provincial executive committee meetings on six consecutive occasions.
"Following their exclusion from the provincial executive committee, we resolved that they should be replaced by members from their respective constituencies, which are Norton for Cde Mutsvangwa and Hurungwe North for Cde Marumahoko."
Ambassador Mutsvangwa yesterday said his "supposed suspension" was of no significance following last Wednesday's Politburo meeting.
"What you are referring to has been overtaken by events. All those imaginations were superseded by events that took place at the Politburo last week," he said.
Cde Mliswa, in turn, said: "As far as I know, that decision to lift suspensions only refers to the Youth League chairpersons. However, if there is any communication that will come from the Politburo instructing to lift Cdes Mutsvangwa and Marumahoko's suspensions, we will do that. But as it stands, the provincial executive committee has made its decision and this decision is binding."
Cde Mliswa said his executive would recommend Ambassador Mutsvangwa to take up a position in the party's Central Committee despite his suspension.
"For me, Cde Mutsvangwa is Central Committee material. That should be the appropriate posting for him and I also want to make it clear that we are not in the business of eliminating our war veterans.
"But I feel that the provincial executive, which holds meetings regularly is not the right platform for a senior official like him.
"That is why we are going to back him to get into the Central Committee. He is free to appeal to the National Disciplinary Committee if he feels hard done."