Wadyajena, Rwodzi and 7 other bigwigs suspended as factional fights shake Zanu PF

Justice Mayor Wadyajena

ZANU PF, the ruling party in Zimbabwe, has taken action against several senior executives in the Midlands province for allegedly undermining the party’s candidates in the recent general elections.

Factional disputes within the party have intensified in President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s home province, leading to the suspension of nine leaders who are also members of the provincial co-ordinating committee. The suspended individuals include Justice Mayor Wadyajena, chairperson of the Zanu PF Gokwe North district co-ordinating committee (DCC), and Florence Rwodzi, secretary for production and labour in the Midlands provincial Women’s League.

Additional suspensions were handed to Peace Tavengwa, a member of the Midlands youth league, as well as Godfrey Hofisi and Catherine Mandenda, provincial members from Gokwe North. The party has scheduled hearings chaired by central committee member Cuthbert Mpame to take place between November 27 and December 1, 2023. The letters of suspension were copied to Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri, the Zanu PF national chairperson who also heads the party’s national disciplinary committee.

The suspended members are accused of boycotting meetings organized by candidates who participated in the August 23 and 24 elections, as well as urging party members not to vote for these candidates. Some members have reportedly been avoiding party gatherings in protest against the chaotic primary elections conducted by Forever Associates of Zimbabwe. These primaries were marred by allegations of rigging and favouritism in candidate selection.

Wadyajena specifically faces allegations of campaigning against Flora Buka, a former Cabinet minister and incumbent legislator, who had defeated him in the primary elections for the Gokwe-Nembudziya constituency. Wadyajena is also being held accountable for failing to account for 45 tonnes of mealie-meal allocated to the Gokwe North Administrative District for the benefit of the party during the 2023 harmonized elections.

Edmond Mkaratigwa, Zanu PF Midlands provincial secretary for administration, stated in a prohibition order addressed to Wadyajena: “You failed to account for 45 tonnes of mealie-meal that were given to Gokwe North Administrative District, and to benefit the party during the 2023 harmonised elections.

“You failed to conduct yourself in an honest and honourable manner in your dealings with the party and public, actions of which have brought the party’s name into disrepute or ridicule.

“You are alleged to have worked against a party candidate for Gokwe-Nembudziya constituency when you incited people not to vote for a party candidate for the National Assembly.”

Farai Marapira, the Zanu PF director for Information, claimed to be unaware of the suspensions and hearings when contacted for comment. However, documents seen by NewsDay confirm that party chairperson Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri has already been informed about the suspensions. A letter dated November 16, 2023, from Mkaratigwa revealed that the Midlands provincial executive council had convened on November 11 to establish the disciplinary committee.

Clarifying the situation, acting Midlands provincial chairman Edson Chakanyuka Chiherenge stated that the members had not been suspended from the party but were merely prohibited from engaging in party activities. He confirmed that the members would appear before a disciplinary committee.

As the factional battles within Zanu PF escalate, the repercussions are being felt in President Mnangagwa’s home province of Midlands. The upcoming hearings will shed further light on the alleged misconduct and its impact on the party’s unity and election campaigns.

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