Nduduzo Tshuma and Marvelous Moyo
ZANU-PF Matabeleland South chairman Cde Andrew Langa was elbowed out yesterday after a no-confidence-vote was passed against him.
Langa faced charges of aligning himself with a faction seeking to oust President Robert Mugabe and undermining the First Lady Grace Mugabe.
Cde Langa’s deputy, Cde Rapelang Choene, has assumed temporary charge.
Violence broke out before the Provincial Congress Coordinating Committee meeting in Gwanda after Cde Langa’s relatives and supporters assaulted a man later identified as Cde Muridzo Muchineripi, who was protesting against the Sport and Culture Minister’s leadership.
The man was carrying a placard denouncing Cde Langa as “Dr 10 Percent’s Puppet” — an apparent reference to Vice President Joice Mujuru, who was accused last month of corruptly demanding shareholding in companies.
Other demonstrators carrying placards denouncing deposed war veterans leader Cde Jabulani Sibanda were spared, but placards with unflattering messages about Cde Langa were shredded into pieces by his supporters.
Cde Abigail Damasane, the chairperson of the Provincial Congress Co-ordinating Committee tried to block the no-confidence motion from being discussed in the meeting, saying her task was to announce the committees and sub-committees leading preparations for the party’s congress to be held from December 2 to 7.
She suggested that the issue should be raised with the provincial secretary for information Cde Malachi Nkomo and the provincial secretary for administration, Cde William Dewa who would then relay the message to Cde Langa.
War veterans’ Cde Jabulani Phetshu Sibanda then suggested that Cde Damasane concludes the Provincial Congress Coordinating Committee meeting, which would then be followed by another meeting to deal with issues against Cde Langa.
A separate meeting of the Provincial Executive Council was then convened by war veterans where a vote of no confidence was passed by 31 members out of 50.
Cde Siqhozo Ndlovu, a member of the provincial executive from Bulilima moved the motion to pass a vote of no confidence on the provincial chairperson. Cde Obedingwa Mguni seconded the motion.
Cde Langa — who attended the first meeting but boycotted the second — was accused of announcing on two separate occasions a line-up of a “purported Presidium” and also giving false information that he was doing it on behalf of the Provincial Coordinating Committee which never discussed the issue.
Cde Langa claimed in August that Matabeleland South had resolved to back Zanu-PF National Chairman Cde Simon Khaya Moyo for the vacant post of second Vice President at the December congress, but it later emerged this was not a decision of the Provincial Coordinating Committee.
Cde Langa was also accused of fanning factionalism and aligning himself with a faction working against President Mugabe.
“The chairman indulged in unprocedural activities before and during the provincial and national elective conferences for the Youths and Women’s Conferences. This he did through systematic intimidation and vote buying for a faction,” read the motion.
“The chairman also attempted to sabotage the First Lady’s ‘Meet the People’ programme in Gwanda by deliberately attempting to change the venue from Gwanda to Filabusi, knowing too well that these meetings were held at provincial centres.”
He was also accused of attempting to cause confusion among party supporters by organising a counter-attraction meeting in Maphisa on the day the First Lady was going to hold her rally at Pelandaba Stadium, as well as being behind the last-minute cancellation of ten buses that were meant to augment locally-arranged transport to bring supporters to the First Lady’s rally.
Cde Langa was also accused of mobilising and bussing youths from Insiza with instructions to disrupt the First Lady’s rally.
“That on October 17, 2014, you were overheard at your lodge in Insiza insulting the First Lady saying she was mad and also you said she was involved in corrupt activities with Cde Obert Mpofu…,” added the motion.
In the motion, it was alleged that Cde Langa walked out of the First Lady’s Bulawayo rally in a sign of disrespect.
The motion also called for the removal of Cde Phetshu Sibanda as provincial secretary for lands and resettlement for announcing the province’s alleged voting intentions for members of the presidium ahead of the Zanu-PF congress without discussing with the PCC.
Provincial youth chairperson Cde Washington Nkomo claimed he was almost assaulted by Cde Langa who accused him and the provincial secretary for administration, Cde Dewa, of conspiring against him.
Cde Nkomo said he told Cde Langa that the demands for his removal were coming from the people and not him.
Matabeleland South provincial war veterans’ chairman, Cde Never Ncube raised similar allegations against Cde Langa.
The Matabeleland South provincial chairperson was further accused of defending whites during the land reform programme and blocking Provincial Minister Cde Abednico Ncube from conducting his duties.
Cde Ncube said the province also endorsed the move to expel war veterans’ leader Cde Jabulani Sibanda for comments he made against the First Family.
At the beginning of the Provincial Congress Coordinating Committee after the violent clashes, Cde Langa tried to save himself by saying the province would not be influenced by what was happening in other areas with apparent reference to the Midlands, Masvingo, Harare, Mashonaland West and Mashonaland East where the provincial chairpersons have been ousted for various reasons, chief among them fanning factionalism.
“If there’s a problem in the province, let it be identified so that we’re guided. Matabeleland South will never be influenced by what’s happening in other areas,” he said.
“The commotion that happened outside isn’t a part of Zanu-PF. In Zanu-PF if we’ve issues, we discuss them here. If Langa doesn’t want his wife anymore, it’s not the duty of the neighbour to say so. Let’s desist from working against the party.”
The thugs who assaulted Cde Muchineripi outside the venue were identified as the minister’s brother, Ben Langa and Thobekile Zulu – who was witnessed by our news crew slapping Cde Muchineripi. Another of Cde Langa’s brothers identified as Vakatsha was part of the melee.
Ben and Thobekile led in tearing anti-Langa placards.
Cde Langa had a harsh exchange of words with Bulilima East legislator Cde Mathias Siqhoza Ndlovu who had requested that an emergency Provincial Executive Council meeting be held to discuss the matter of factionalism and violence.
Cde Langa declined to talk to the media saying: “I’ve nothing to say to you. The meeting went well, those who had their mission failed in their plans.”
On the violence, Cde Langa said he did not witness the incident and therefore could not comment. Cde Langa said he had made his intentions of being elevated to the Central Committee clear and begged members to support his bid.
Cde Siqhozo Ndlovu said he tried to raise the issue of violence that occurred outside the venue of their meeting but was blocked by Cde Damasane.
“I asked that we hold an emergency Provincial Executive Council and I was told we’ll hold another meeting afterwards. After the first meeting, Langa charged at me asking who I thought I was. He said he was the chairman mandated to call the meeting,” said Cde Ndlovu.
He said the allegations leveled against Cde Langa were serious to warrant a vote of no confidence.
Speaking at the same meeting, Cde Spare Sithole, a member of the Zimbabwe Liberation War Collaborators Association (Zilwaco), accused the provincial party leadership of failing to act decisively against Cde Langa.War veterans’ provincial commissar Cde Leonard Ncube said they had come to the venue to demonstrate against Cde Langa but Cde Damasane had tried to shield him from the vote of no confidence.
“She (Damasane) said she would see us at 2PM after the meeting. After 2PM, people started walking out. I met Cde Langa outside and he laughed at me. I heard him campaigning for the Central Committee so his plan is to resign as provincial chairperson and go to central committee, but we’ll block that,” said Cde Ncube.