Rebel ZANU PF Chairman Forced To Resign
Robert Mugabe drew blood today at the ongoing ZANU PF Congress in Harare. He pushed for the Manicaland Province Chairman, Basil Nyabadza, to fall in line with other provinces or quit. He quit. Mugabe characterised what Nyabadza was doing as divisive and designed to destroy his cherished unity. Any thoughts of nominating Didymus Mutasa as National Chairman from the floor have thus died. Mugabe has brought the party back into his grip once more.
Harare, Zimbabwe, 10 December 2009
So, this blog remains the only medium to have told you about the outburst from Basil Nyabadza, the ZANU PF Manicaland Province chairman, at the church funeral of Didymus Mutasa' son.
Yesterday, he got his comeuppance, when the ZANU PF Politburo forced him to either retract his statement or leave his post. He chose to leave his post.
Mugabe had been shocked two days ago in Harare by the strength of voices being raised in opposition to Simon Khaya Moyo, especially, as Chairman of Zimbabwe's ruling party.
Yesterday, he dwelt on the subject at length, saying the party was being factionalised and divided by people like Nyabadza. Mugabe claimed that it was Nyabadza and his Provincial Executive Committee's right to nominate whomsoever they saw fit to any position. "But when all the other provinces have overwhelmingly endorsed someone else, then true party cadres will throw their weight behind the choice of the majority."
Mugabe demanded to know if Nyabadza was going to vote in unison with the rest of the provinces and endorse the choices of the party for its leadership positions, but he was told that Manicaland Province intended to nominate Didymus Mutasa from the floor when the voting for National Chairman started.
Mugabe could not stomach this, even threatening not to officially open the Congress on Friday if this remained the case.
Mutasa himself is said to have tried to persuade Nyabadza to cave in, but the Provincial Chairman would hear none of it. He insisted that he would rather resign than give in. A letter was soon sent in to the Politburo meeting at the former Sheraton Hotel and was barely discussed before the whole group agreed to accept the resignation, effective immediately.
Nyabadza himself says he went of his own volition, which could be technically correct, because he could have chosen to endorse the decisions of the party and remain Chairman.
Repeating the words I told you he addressed at mourners in Manicaland a couple of weeks back, Nyabadza said he still believed that his Province should have a place in the "Presidium" of Zimbabwe. He specifically invoked tribe as he did at the funeral and said the party had to put someone from Manicaland to balance out the tribal politics of the country.
Those who attended the Church service for Mutasa's son will tell you that the strength of feeling with which the Chairman spoke betrayed how deep-seated the sentiment is within him. The resignation comes as no surprise. He will be replaced by former Cabinet Minister Chris Mushowe "until an election is held".
The entire Manicaland Provincial Executive will also have to go, I suppose, because Nyabadza was not flying solo here. His colleagues in the executive of Manicaland were in agreement with him and that is why they did nothing to stop their chairman, letting him speak for the province even as they faced political extinction within ZANU PF.
But this is as far as it goes. The rebels, including those in two other provinces, know that there is no hope whatsoever of them trying to stage a palace coup at the Congress. Mugabe has the guns, so to speak. And he would love to use them on errant delegates just so he can make an example of them, a warning to others.
The acrimony is only entrenching Mugabe's determination to die in office, to stay around as President as long he can breath, all the time paralysed as to how to move forward on the succession issue. He owes to many people to many things in that party, and those people are split between two factions.
He is mortified at the thought of upsetting either of them.
Mugabe knows this and has even joked before that he thinks to secure peace in Zimbabwe, he should be succeeded by two co-presidents.