President Emmerson Mnangagwa fired Mashonaland West Provincial Affairs minister Webster Shamu after the former Zanu PF commissar was allegedly recorded declaring that the ruling party’s leader will lose the forthcoming elections, it has emerged.
Shamu — infamous for bootlicking former president Robert Mugabe and likening him to the popular Cremora milk brand — was fired last week without any reasons being given.
But investigations by The Standard have revealed that Shamu was fired for allegedly plotting against Mnangagwa and engineering the chaos that engulfed Zanu PF’s recent primary elections.
According to highly-placed sources, Mnangagwa was left with no choice, but to act against Shamu even though he had not intended to fire anyone before the elections.
“Shamu did not like Mnangagwa and was always telling people he thought were his friends that ED would lose the coming elections because he is incompetent and not a national leader. This news reached ED in audio format,” the source.
The recording surfaced after Mnangagwa’s advisor Christopher Mutsvangwa accused the former minister of misleading political commissar Engelbert Rugeje.
Mutsvangwa had lost in the Zanu PF primary elections where he alleged there was massive rigging.
“It is inconceivable that the president will win given that the party’s members have been largely disenfranchised.
“We realised that instead of being in the primary elections to provide peace and a stable environment in which Zanu PF members freely express themselves and choose their leaders, the national commissar, being a political novice, sought advice from a rehabilitated ex-Gamatox commissar in the form of Webster Shamu to turn police into returning officers,” the war veterans leader said then.
Hundreds of Zanu PF supporters gathered at the party’s headquarters where they threatened to vote for MDC-T leader Nelson Chamisa ahead of Mnangagwa after the primaries.
The Chegutu East MP was removed as Zanu PF commisar in 2014 along with former vice-president Joice Mujuru, but bounced back into the fold at a time Mnangagwa’s allies were being purged from the party by G40.
Shamu bounced back from the wilderness after Mugabe sacked Faber Chidarikire, accusing him of supporting Mnangagwa.
Chidarikire, according to sources, was haunted out of the party for referring to Auxilia Mnangagwa as acting first lady when her husband was still vice-president.
Another source said Shamu was indeed very close to Rugeje and had become the unofficial advisor of the retired general.
“He had the ear of the commissar and is now being accused of misleading him in an effort to ensure that chaotic primaries would result in a bhora musango and ensure that Mnangagwa lost the polls, this is why he was dumped,” the source said.
Zanu PF central committee member and war veterans secretary-general Victor Matemadanda said Mnangagwa had always been a forgiving person and had allowed Shamu to remain in his government despite his obvious shortcomings.
“I cannot say for real what broke the camel’s back, but suffice to say the president, who has been preaching peace, reconciliation and letting bygones be bygones, had to act, and act he did,” Matemadanda said.
“If the allegations against Shamu are true, I believe they are because the president acted on them, then he has nobody to blame but himself.
“for a person who rose through the party ranks to the position of political commissar, a war veteran who is supposed to be disciplined, surely running away with ballot papers not once, but twice, is despicable.”
Matemadanda said Shamu also had a way of setting colleagues in the party against each other, causing disunity and discomfort among other ills.
“There are a lot of things, which we know but won’t say them because our president has said let’s move on,” said the war veterans’ leader.
“But he had a way of setting up comrades against each other, and that is not a way to behave.
“We also have an audio of him saying never will anyone who is not Zezuru rule this country.
“we have that recording, but regardless of that President Mnangagwa kept him in his government.”
Shamu refused to discuss why he was kicked out only saying he remained a loyal party member and would not like to challenge his boss.
Central committee member Larry Mavima said Mnangagwa was always measured and calculative when he acts, and must have had good reason to act in the way he did.
“He is not that person who just acts out of the blue, he is not impulsive,” Mavima said.
“I know the president is not after purging people and he has been sincere with his let bygones be bygones stance, so he must have reasons, which are solid and sound, while it’s not my place to speculate on his reasons.”
– The Standard