EXILED former Cabinet minister Jonathan Moyo has described suspended Zanu PF Politburo member Cleveria Chizema as an unheralded but cunning politician with an excellent sense of contemporary dynamics who can read the winds of change.
Chizema, Zanu PF’s secretary for health and child care, was suspended by the Politburo at its monthly meeting at the party’s national headquarters in Harare Wednesday.
She had been found in possession of posters and pamphlets that denounced President Emmerson Mnangagwa ahead of the #July 31 protests which were, however, heavily thwarted by security forces.
Zanu PF considers the printed material subversive.
The suspension comes amid reports of simmering tensions between Mnangagwa and his deputy Constantino Chiwenga.
A former general of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, Chiwenga is widely considered to be harbouring presidential ambitions and cannot wait to take over from the incumbent.
The VP also reportedly leads a faction in Zanu PF in which some top party bigwigs have pitched their political tents in.
One of those politicians is the highly vocal Chizema.
Following her suspension, Moyo described Chizema as a foxy, but an unheralded politician who reads the direction of the wind of political change in Zanu PF and was now fully backing Chiwenga’s presidential ambitions.
Moyo, once a Zanu PF Politburo member before the November 2017 coup which deposed long-serving leader Robert Mugabe, also sat in the same influential organ with Chizema, and is well placed to know the internal dynamics of the ruling party.
He fled into exile at the height of the coup which catapulted Mnangagwa to the throne.
Chizema, who is also a senator in Parliament, was at that time in 2017 solidly behind Mnangagwa, then vice president, who was facing stiff resistance from the G40 faction in his bid to replace Mugabe as president.
However, Mnangagwa emerged winner in November 2017 when the military removed Mugabe amid euphoric scenes from crisis-weary Zimbabweans who hoped the new leader would turn around the economic fortunes of the country.
However, this joy has been turned into grief as the country’s economy has plunged deeper into the abyss while the rights of opposition activists and ordinary citizens are being trampled daily by the State with growing calls for Mnangagwa to leave office.
Moyo averred that the latest call for the removal of Mnangagwa from office was work in motion in both Zanu PF and the opposition. He said Chizema was one of the key architects of the scheme in the ruling party.
“CLEVERIA CHIZEMA: Zanu PF’s wind vane and unheralded Politburo member suspended last Wednesday for allegedly working to oust Mnangagwa. Where she stands or who she opposes; signals the direction of the wind of change in Zanu PF,” Moyo cautioned Saturday.
“She did it in 2017 and she is doing it again in 2020! I am saying she was aware of the impending November 2017 coup, well in advance and she positioned herself accordingly!”
Chizema is also accused by her party of trying to recruit other Zanu PF members, including high-ranking Politburo officials into her scheme before she was busted.
According to sources in Zanu PF, the fliers found in possession of Chizema denigrated Mnangagwa while supporting Chiwenga to take over as president, a move reminiscent of the 2017 military coup.
Chizema, according to Moyo, played a defining role in the coup.