First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa’s event exposes party rifts, 2 top Zanu PF officials suspended


In a dramatic turn of events, First Amai Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa finds herself entangled in the escalating factionalism within the ruling Zanu PF party.

The fallout has resulted in the suspension of senior party officials accused of failing to mobilize supporters for an event officiated by the First Lady.

According to NewsDay, Lorraine Vengesai, the secretary for lands, and Elizabeth Munyeri, the secretary for finance, both members of the Harare provincial wing, have been handed indefinite suspensions. The party is yet to schedule a hearing to determine their fate. Ephraim Fundukwa, chairperson of the provincial disciplinary committee, issued the prohibition orders on November 24, 2023.

The suspensions were triggered by an incident where the First Lady allegedly ousted Zanu PF provincial chairperson Godwills Masimirembwa from a meeting. Masimirembwa was held accountable for the inadequate mobilization of attendees for the First Lady’s event, which aimed to inaugurate a kitchen for orphans. Despite organizing three buses, the party failed to fill them to capacity, prompting Amai Auxillia Mnangagwa to take action against Masimirembwa due to poor mobilization efforts.

The suspension letters addressed to Munyeri highlighted allegations of serious misconduct, stating that she had intentionally undermined the event graced by the First Lady. It was further alleged that Munyeri, in cahoots with others, deliberately discouraged people from participating in official functions as a means to undermine the provincial leadership.

In another development, Olive Veremu, also known as Olembe in Zanu PF circles, and Reason Mabhedhla, secretary for education in the youth league, faced a two-year suspension. The duo was accused of orchestrating a protest against the provincial leadership earlier this year at the party’s office. Party insiders claim that the suspensions were influenced by the Masimirembwa-led provincial executive.

Veremu and Mabhedhla sought a meeting with Masimirembwa to address their concerns regarding the alleged imposition of a daily protection fee of US$5 by Emmanuel Mahachi, the Zanu PF provincial youth chair, for selling their goods in Mbare. Mahachi, a close ally of Masimirembwa, lost in the party’s primary elections to Martin Matinyanya, the current Mbare legislator. Speculation is rife that the suspension of Veremu and Mabhedhla is an act of retribution orchestrated by Masimirembwa.

Masimirembwa defended the disciplinary actions, emphasizing that the provincial leadership would not tolerate disorder within the party. He encouraged dissatisfied individuals to appeal to the national disciplinary committee if they disagreed with the decisions made.

However, an anonymous central committee member voiced concerns, alleging that Masimirembwa and Fundukwa were victimizing their rivals. The firing of Veremu and Mabhedhla, who led a group of youths and party supporters in petitioning against Mahachi’s collection of protection fees, is seen by some as a targeted act of punishment.

The Zanu PF party is currently grappling with internal strife, with nine senior members from President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s home province of Midlands already suspended. As tensions escalate, the party faces the challenging task of maintaining unity and addressing the underlying factional issues that threaten its stability.

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