ZANU-PF Mashonaland East provincial chairman Cde Ray Kaukonde was on the brink last night after war veterans led a push to kick him out of the post by passing a vote of no confidence in his leadership.But Kaukonde will hang on, for now, because the vote of no confidence was not passed by the full Provincial Executive Council.
Kaukonde was fingered by the First Lady Grace Mugabe as the financial kingpin of a plot led by Vice President Joice Mujuru to oust President Robert Mugabe.
The no-confidence vote by the war veterans – which also extended to Cde Kaukonde’s entire executive – came after a peaceful demonstration in Marondera organised by members of the Women’s League and which drew hundreds of Zanu-PF supporters from the Youth League, war veterans, war collaborators, former political prisoners and ex-detainees.
Only one district out of the nine administrative districts in the province was not represented at the meeting.
The war veterans named Cde Patrick Makombe from Marondera district as their choice for interim chairperson and said he would be deputised by Cde Tangai Hove from Goromonzi.
In the Women’s League, Cde Lyn Gororo (Murehwa) was named interim chairperson and would be deputised by Cde Patricia Ruzawe (Goromonzi), while Cde Norman Guramatunhu (Murehwa) will be the acting Youth League chairperson, with Cde Samson Chipfiko (Mudzi) his deputy.
The demonstration began at the Mashonaland East provincial offices of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association before the Zanu-PF supporters marched peacefully through Marondera to the party offices.
They sang revolutionary songs and others denigrating Cde Kaukonde’s divisive leadership style.
Some of the placards they carried read: “Fraudster from Budjaland,” “Pasi newe Kaukonde, Pasii!”, “All whites at your farms out!” and “Vakadzi Vapera naRay muMash East”.
The demonstrators broke the key at the gates to the party offices to gain entrance.
The Police Officer Commanding Mashonaland East Senior Assistant Commissioner Charles Makono later arrived and could be seen discussing with the leaders of the demonstrators.
Part of the precast wall and a window pane at the guard room at the offices were destroyed.
The Zanu-PF chairperson for the Women’s League in Marondera District Cde Ellis Rangwana, speaking to the demonstrators, chronicled Cde Kaukonde and his executive’s alleged indiscretions and called for a no confidence vote in their leadership.
“Cde Kaukonde has no respect for the President and the First Family as was seen at Rudhaka Stadium during the First Lady’s ‘Meet the People’ Rally’,” she said.
“He organised youths who embarrassed the First Lady by continuously beating their drums while she addressed the people. What kind of disrespect is that?
“He’s also going around claiming that the President owes him money, saying he can’t do anything to him because of that, but we’re saying how much are you owed so that we can pay you back?”
Cde Rangwana accused the provincial executive of being complicit in Cde Kaukonde’s misdemeanors as seen by the vote of confidence they passed in him recently.
“When the First Lady complained about Cde Kaukonde’s conduct, we thought the executive would act on it promptly, but they went on to express confidence in him, that’s why we’re saying the whole executive should go,” Cde Rangwana said.
She accused Cde Kaukonde of staffing provincial structures with his cronies, while preventing bonafide party members from holding office and also protecting white commercial farmers, yet there were many indigenous Zimbabweans without land.
War veteran and coordinator of the demonstration Cde Crispen Mashayamombe echoed similar sentiments against Cde Kaukonde.
Speaking in an interview, Cde Mashayamombe said their immediate task was to prepare for the forthcoming National People’s Congress next month.
Zanu-PF provincial structures have moved to flush out Vice President Mujuru’s alleged co-conspirators in the alleged plot against President Mugabe by passing votes of no confidence on Mashonaland West chairperson Cde Themba Mliswa, his Masvingo counterpart Cde Kalisto Gwanetsa, Harare’s Amos Midzi, Cde Jaison Machaya (Midlands) and Cde Andrew Langa (Matabeleland South).
Sources say moves are underway to also kick out Professor Callistus Ndlovu from Bulawayo province.
The only safe provincial chairmen appear to be Cde Richard Moyo in Matabeleland North and Cde Dickson Maphios in Mashonaland Central. Manicaland chairman Ambassador John Mvundura could come under renewed pressure to go.