From Nduduzo Tshuma in Harare
FORMER Zanu-PF secretary for information and publicity Cde Rugare Gumbo, who was serving a five-year suspension, was yesterday expelled from the party by the Central Committee at its 97th ordinary session at the Zanu-PF headquarters in Harare.The expulsion follows his suspension by the Politburo last month for plotting against President Mugabe whom he said would be shot if he did not step down to clear the way for Vice President Joice Mujuru to take over.
Addressing journalists after the Central Committee meeting yesterday, Zanu-PF national chairman Cde Simon Khaya Moyo said: “Finally as a late item, but very significant, the suspended former secretary for information and publicity in the Zanu-PF Politburo, Cde Rugare Gumbo, has been expelled from the party by the Central Committee.”
Earlier in his address to the Central Committee, President Mugabe said the party shouldn’t be left in the hands of the likes of Cde Gumbo, Vice President Mujuru and their allies. “We’ve seen a lot in the party for years, revolts that happened from the time of Nhari (-Badza rebellion of 1974) to Gumbo 1977-78.
We had gone to meetings with Tongogara and they remained plotting to take over power violently with some boys including soldiers in the camps,” said President Mugabe.
He said even after he was forgiven for his past transgressions, Gumbo did not repent and Congress was going to be very careful for future purposes.
After his suspension last month, Cde Gumbo gave a number of interviews to the private media denouncing the President and Zanu-PF.
Before his suspension, Zanu-PF’s Matabeleland North province attacked him for abusing his party position to speak on behalf of his faction headed by Vice President Mujuru at the expense of the official party position.
Cde Gumbo was also taken to task by the Midlands Provincial Coordinating Committee for claiming that allegations of corruption, subversion and abuse of office levelled against the Vice President were false.
Recently, he appeared on ZBC TV’s Media Watch programme saying the succession issue was the most critical matter for the party’s Congress, all but confirming plans that a faction within the party had been working to oust President Mugabe.
Meanwhile, Cde Khaya Moyo said the Central Committee deliberated on the 6th National People’s Congress which begins today.
“Delegates must be seated by 10AM. As a matter of fact we expect people to start sitting from 8AM to 10AM so people must be seated latest 10AM,” said Cde Khaya Moyo.
“Elected Central Committee members were presented province by province and approved for onward endorsement by Congress. Proposed amendments of the Zanu-PF constitution were also presented to the central committee and welcomed. They of course now await endorsement by Congress.”
He said the Central Committee appreciated that the Congress venue had been renamed Robert Gabriel Mugabe Square.
“We’ve also given names to four main service roads at the Congress venue. The roads are Dr Grace Mugabe Way, Dr Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo Road, Dr Simon V Muzenda Road and ZimAsset Way. The Central Committee expressed plural gratitude for the donation of foodstuffs by the First Family to the Congress,” said Cde Khaya Moyo.
He said the First Lady had donated 8 tonnes of rice, 10 tonnes of mealie-meal, 5 tonnes of beef, 10 tonnes of chicken, 200 crates of eggs, 300kgs of sausages, 300kgs of pork chops and 200kgs of salt.
“I must also commend all the provinces for the efforts they’ve taken in raising funds in cash and kind towards the successful hosting of our Congress. I said yesterday I believe this will be the best Congress ever and I hope we can all live up to it,” said Cde Khaya Moyo.