WAR veterans yesterday called for the removal of Zanu-PF secretary for Information and Publicity Cde Rugare Gumbo from his post in the wake of his confession that he was part of a faction plotting to oust President Mugabe.
The embattled Cde Gumbo has come under fire over his utterances on ZBCTV’s Media Watch programme on Monday that succession was the most critical issue at the forthcoming elective 6th Zanu-PF National People’s Congress, a development analysts said all but confirmed that a faction within the party has been working to depose President Mugabe just one year into his five-year tenure.
Addressing journalists in Harare yesterday, war veterans elders’ spokesperson Cde Victor Matemadanda said Cde Gumbo wanted the congress to discuss President Mugabe’s replacement despite the fact that he won a resounding mandate from the people against other opposition parties in last year’s harmonised elections were he commanded over 60 percent of the presidential vote.
“Utterances by Rugare Gumbo require condemnation from all members of Zanu-PF, especially those in the Central Committee and Politburo,” Cde Matemadanda, who was flanked by several other war veterans, said.
“The party endorsed President Mugabe as the sole candidate for the President and First Secretary of the party, but Rugare Gumbo seems not to be knowledgeable about that fact.
“Rugare Gumbo has shown a complete disregard of objectivity in his role as spokesperson of Zanu-PF, as such, he cannot continue in this role, especially now as the party heads towards congress and during that congress.”
In the interview on ZBCTV, Cde Gumbo said the congress would provide a clear direction on the succession issue.
“My real response to what is happening now as we go to congress is that there are obviously critical issues which are affecting us, one of them is obviously the issue of succession.
“We have to have a clear direction as to what we want to do in terms of succession, how do we do it? What are the procedures and so on and so forth,” said Cde Gumbo.
Cde Matemadanda described Cde Gumbo as power hungry and part of the divisive elements engrossed in promoting succession battles to oust President Mugabe at the expense of developmental issues.
“It is common knowledge that Rugare Gumbo and his gang intend to split from Zanu-PF if they do not get their desired posts in the Politburo,” he said.
“We want to advise him to abandon that futile plan. Zanu-PF will not split at the whims of known sellouts that are in it only to serve their hunger for power.”
Cde Matemadanda said Cde Gumbo had betrayed Zanu-PF before and was now openly flaunting his deceit.
“We know that Rugare Gumbo came back from the war as a prisoner for rebelling against the party and he contested the 1980 elections as a member of the treacherous Zanu Ndonga,” said Cde Matemadanda.
“We strongly believe that the spirit of rebellion that led him to Zanu Ndonga is still with him and is manifesting again.”
Cde Gumbo has been under fire for abdicating his role as party national spokesperson to speak for a faction angling to depose President Mugabe.
He has been distorting Politburo deliberations to suit the faction’s ends prompting the Matabeleland North and Midlands leadership to declare him unfit for the office of party national spokesperson.
President Mugabe is also reported to have quizzed Cde Gumbo over his quisling behaviour and his role in the Baba Jukwa saga. The President wanted to know why police had not interrogated him when he was the one who brought Edmund Kudzayi, The Sunday Mail editor accused of being the shadowy character, to Team Zanu-PF.
Cde Matemadanda hailed the revolutionary party for flushing out divisive elements manifesting themselves through some provincial chairpersons.
He expressed concern with some veteran politicians in Mashonaland East whom he said were protecting a “known divisive and corrupt Ray Kaukonde.”
He challenged such politicians to justify their actions and prove the positive impact that Cde Kaukonde had made in the province.
Cde Matemadanda slammed Masvingo Politburo member Cde Dzikamai Mavhaire for interfering with a decision made by the provincial executive to pass a vote of no confidence on provincial chairperson Cde Callisto Gwanetsa.
“As war veterans, we are proud and happy that the general membership of Zanu-PF are now exercising their right by booting out divisive elements and factional chairpersons in the various provincial structures of the party,” said Cde Matemadanda.
He criticised Zanu-PF’s commissariat department for failing to rein in cases of indiscipline in the party, preferring instead to reduce itself to a spectator.
The war veterans called for a committee to be set up to investigate cases of indiscipline and make necessary recommendations to President Mugabe.