ZANU PF has started a witch-hunt targeting prospective legislators and officials fingered by the country’s spy arms for allegedly plotting a post-election impeachment of President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
This comes as the 75-year-old leader is struggling to unite a party riven by factionalism and mounting suspicion.
The Daily News can report that a politburo meeting held at the Zanu PF headquarters mid this week that recalled three legislators from Parliament — Godfrey Gandawa (Magunje), Beater Nyamupinga (Goromonzi West) and Masango Matambanadzo (Kwekwe Central) — also set up a special committee to vet “infiltrators who used money to get elected on the ruling party’s ticket”.
Zanu PF insiders said the committee was mandated with vetting all CVs of those suspected to be working against party interests, including those who won.
“The party resolved that an internal investigation would be carried out and then the party will replace those who would have been found wanting,” a politburo member who requested anonymity told the Daily News.
Mnangagwa himself revealed the plot to impeach him at a Zanu PF workshop held on Wednesday as he pleaded with disenchanted party members to rally behind his presidency.
The ruling party’s spokesperson, Simon Khaya Moyo, said he could not divulge what Zanu PF was doing to flush out the malcontents who were named by Mnangagwa.
“It can never be a press matter. It is an internal matter that we are dealing with within the party structures,” Khaya Moyo told the Daily News.
In a press statement issued on Wednesday night, Khaya Moyo appealed for unity in the troubled party ahead of the watershed elections to be held on July 30.
“Campaigns for the president and Zanu PF candidates for the coming harmonised elections to be held on July 30, 2018 must be in full swing from now onwards, as Zanu PF must win resoundingly as it did in 2013. Unity and peace are the watch words,” said Khaya Moyo.
Khaya Moyo announced the recalling from the august House of Gandawa, Nyamupinga and Matambanadzo, saying the trio were aware of the reasons for their dismissal from Zanu PF.
“They know the reason themselves. I know that three have been recalled. Secretary for administration Obert Mpofu has written to the Speaker of Parliament Jacob Mudenda on the development.
“The recalling has something to do with their conduct and, of course, I would say to do with bringing the name of the party into disrepute. I have not seen the letters myself but, I am quite aware that they have been recalled from Parliament.
“One cannot just be withdrawn from Parliament. There is a reason for that. As a party spokesperson, my duty is just to communicate issues and soon we will know why they have been recalled,” Khaya Moyo said.
On Thursday, Gandawa, who was blocked from standing in the chaotic Zanu PF primary elections held in April, hinted that he would stand as an independent candidate for Magunje.
“Zanu PF is a voluntary organisation. I joined voluntarily and they expelled me because they no longer need my services so I accept that. But no one communicated with me. If ever there is something that I did wrong, I only saw it on television. I am a politician and I am still weighing my options. At the appropriate time, I will make my decision,” said Gandawa.
Matambanadzo said he was not fired from Zanu PF but voluntarily resigned.
“I am not sure if that is the correct term that they recalled me because I withdrew from Zanu PF and gave the letter to the provincial leadership. Yes, they have recalled me from Parliament, I am not worried. My stance is irreversible they have done enough, I was a prisoner in Zanu PF, they did not want to see me at any meeting in Zanu PF.
“So many people suffered because of my belonging to Zanu PF. I am confident that I will win in another party. They barred me from addressing a rally, so many people were pushing me to stand as an independent candidate, my councillors they were denied to stand and so they decided to join NPF (the National Patriotic Front) and they told me to join them too. After I had a thank you rally, people urged me to join a party that would receive me, so I joined NPF,” said Matambanadzo.
Nyamupinga said she is still in the dark as to why she was chucked out of the party.
“I have not heard from Parliament, I am not sure why I was recalled. There are some people saying I said that Terrence Mukupe should have been fired first but that is false,” said Nyamupinga.
Political analysts canvassed by the Daily News said Mnangagwa has reason to fear an internal rebellion judging from the way he also came to power.
“Looks like someone is having a crisis of confidence and fighting battles on many fronts as ED warns aspiring candidates against plans to impeach him should he win in July. But is the impeachment threat real or the man has become paranoid like his old boss,” remarked legal expert Alex Magaisa.
Professor of world politics at the London School of Oriental and African studies Stephen Chan said Mnangagwa is likely to discipline possible renegades.
“Impeachment is a very difficult constitutional process. Firstly, there have to be constitutionally proper grounds for impeachment. Secondly, even if impeached — meaning essentially a strong vote of no confidence, and this would probably have to be in both houses of Parliament — the president could then dissolve Parliament and call for fresh elections.
“I really don’t see impeachment happening, especially if Mnangagwa wins a strong electoral mandate. Of course, this is a constitutional device attempted in many countries, and — if the motion of no confidence came from his own parliamentarians — a wise president would count the number of dissidents as a warning sign.
“But, normally, the party whip for Zanu PF would seek to discipline any such dissidents. The party hierarchy could also be asked to discipline such people for bringing the party into disrepute. If the motion came from the opposition — then, with its current parliamentary numbers, there would not be enough votes for the motion. If the opposition wins the elections, there would be no need to impeach someone who had been defeated,” said Chan.