Zimbabwe: Mugabe Purge Targets Ex-Vice President Mujuru’s 100 MPs
Clearly nervous about a possible impeachment bid, backers of President Robert Mugabe in Zanu PF now plan to recall legislators thought to have been backing former vice president Joice Mujuru.
Despite her public humiliation and dismissal, Mujuru vowed she would remain in Zanu PF and pledged her loyalty to the 90-year-old leader who is presently holidaying in the Far East.
But unconvinced, beneficiaries of her brutal purge are now targeting legislators thought to be loyal to Mujuru to block any bid to impeach Mugabe as well as entrench vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa’s grip on the party.
“Right now we don’t know what they (MPs) are planning as they were loyal to Cde Mujuru,” said Zanu PF Mashonaland Central chairman Dickson Mafios.
“There are also rumours that they want to impeach President Mugabe if they unite with the MDC-T. So, right now we are not sure if their allegiance is towards the President and how loyal they are to Government.”
The recall plans will interest the opposition MDC-T party after Parliament Speaker Jacob Mudenda blocked its own attempts to force out legislators who joined the rebellion by former party secretary general Tendai Biti and other senior officials.
Mugabe fired Mujuru and several ministers, accusing the group of trying to illegally remove him from power but the MDC-T warned that it could seek to impeach the veteran leader, arguing that the former VP’s ouster was unconstitutional.
“By firing Mujuru the way he did, Mugabe has violated the Constitution … and because of that he can and should be impeached. He cannot violate the supreme law of the land,” MDC-T spokesman Obert Gutu told a local daily earlier this month.
However, experts said with just 91 seats in the House of Assembly and Senate against 234 for Zanu PF, the MDC-T would need the support of a huge number of disgruntled ruling party legislators for the impeachment bid to have any hope of success.
And the Mugabe-Mnangagwa faction would have read with interest comments by Harare academic and political analyst Ibbo Mandaza who suggested that a majority of the Zanu PF legislators had been side-lined by the purges of so-called Mujuru allies.
“Pre-empted and purged within weeks and days of Congress were … some 100 (out of 160 Zanu PF legislators),” Mandaza wrote, adding that Mugabe was now a minority leader in the ruling party.
Whether the disgruntled legislators would back an attempt to impeach Mugabe remains unclear, but the veteran leader’s backers are not leaving anything to chance.
Mashonaland Central province has already drawn up a list of nine legislators it wants recalled, including former labour minister Nicholas Goche.
Said provincial chair Mafios: “We held our first provincial co-ordination committee meeting in Mbire on Tuesday and it was resolved that because of the seriousness of the (Dr) Mujuru matter, we cannot continue to work with some of the MPs who were in her camp.
“We resolved that such MPs be relieved of their duties.”
Other provincial structures indicated, in interviews with the Herald, that they were minded to follow Mashonaland Central’s lead.
“We are certain that those (Mujuru) MPs will not repent and that is the reason they even boycotted the PCC (meeting),” said the party’s Midlands chairman Kizito Chivamba.
“We are investigating them and when we meet again we will consider the issue. But let me say Mashonaland Central’s position is national. It’s shared by all provinces,” he said.
Richard Moyo of Matabeleland North added: “… we are investigating and once we get evidence we will definitely kick them out. We can’t work with such people.”
In Mashonaland West, chairman Ziyambi Ziyambi explained: “We are going to sit down as an executive and make recommendations to see what form of punishment should be taken against such MPs.
“We also support what Mashonaland Central has done.”