Zimbabwe

ZPP Monthly Monitor (November 2014)

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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

The month of November 2014 witnessed an accelerated purge of perceived and known political opponents within Zanu PF by a faction allegedly aligned to Justice Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa and in support of the political ascendancy of First Lady Grace Mugabe ahead of the party’s “elective” congress in December.

There was an open warfare in Zanu PF as First Lady repeated her calls for Vice President Joice Mujuru's resignation saying she had a video recording of the latter denigrating her and President Robert Mugabe. Serious allegations of a planned coup were labelled against VP Mujuru and her perceived allies with threats of the VP’s arrest being made.

Public Service, Labour and Welfare Minister Nicholas Goche had to flee for dear life on 23 November 2014 after party youths pounced on him, demanding that he be cleared of treason allegations, before he could attend any party meetings.

Violence also rocked Zanu PF provincial meetings in all the country’s 10 provinces throughout the month as rivals fought over moves to kick-out provincial chairpersons perceived sympathetic to embattled Vice-President Joice Mujuru.

In Masvingo, a Zanu PF provincial co-ordinating committee pencilled for Victoria Junior Primary School failed to take off during the first week of November after rival party youths traded blows over the suspension of chairperson Retired Brigadier-General Killian Gwanetsa and the appointment of his deputy Paradzai Chakona as successor.

Defence Minister Sydney Sekeramayi was allegedly heckled on November, 4, 2014 by a group of about 500 demonstrating war veterans and party youths who stormed the Zanu PF Mashonaland East provincial offices demanding the immediate resignation of party provincial chairperson Ray Kaukonde. The former fighters had marched through Marondera town to the party offices where they denounced Kaukonde for being “disrespectful” to First Lady Grace Mugabe. They claimed Kaukonde mobilised party youths to heckle the First Lady during her “Meet the People” rally in Marondera in October.

Zanu PF Midlands chairperson Jason Machaya was kicked out of office after the party’s executive passed a vote of no confidence on him, becoming the fourth provincial leader to be booted out in less than a month.

A group of Zanu PF youths reportedly hired by Harare South legislator Shadreck Mashayamombe ran amok on November 5, 2014, savagely attacking their political opponents in Southlea Park, Harare tearing t-shirts with First Lady Grace Mugabe's face before destroying houses.

Former Zanu PF Harare youth chair, Jim Kunaka, currently at war on factional lines with his successor Godwin Gomwe, was allegedly kidnapped and assaulted by unknown people. He had to be admitted to hospital following the attack.

During the month the ruling party’s politburo expelled war veterans’ leader Jabulani Sibanda and suspended party spokesperson Rugare Gumbo and also upheld the suspension of four provincial chairpersons — Amos Midzi (Harare), Killian Gwanetsa (Masvingo), Jason Machaya (Midlands) and Matabeleland South’s Andrew Langa. Other chairpersons had to face the same fate are Luke Mushore (Mashonaland Central), Ray Kaukonde (Mashonaland East), Callistus Ndlovu (Bulawayo) and Themba Mliswa (Mashonaland West) who had already been fired in October decimating the Mujuru faction.

The ousted leaders went on to lose their seats in the party’s central committee with Zanu PF secretary for Administration Didymus Mutasa being among the biggest losers after he failed to garner enough votes to keep his place in the powerful organ in elections held in Makoni District, amid allegations that he was at the forefront of a plot to assassinate President Mugabe.

The MDC-T held its elective congress towards the end of October and beginning of November 2014 which saw party bigwigs Nelson Chamisa and Tapiwa Mashakada being reduced to ordinary card-carrying members after they lost during the congress. Soon after the congress, the MDC-T went into ‘hibernation’.

Despite the intensive fighting within Zanu PF, the levels of politically motivated human rights violations remained relatively low with a total of 170 incidents having been recorded in November down from the 195 cases witnessed in October. Harassment and intimidation cases remained very high at 119 cases as result of the coercion of Zanu PF party supporters to back the rise of the First Lady towards the congress.