A BOARDROOM fight has erupted at the Southern African Political and Economic Series (Sapes) Trust with chairman Ibbo Mandaza reportedly lobbying for the expulsion of his deputy Joyce Kazembe from the organisation for allegedly assisting President Robert Mugabe to win the recent election.
Kazembe is the vice-chairperson of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, which was accused by the Morgan Tsvangirai-led MDC of failing to execute its duties independently and impartially in the March 29 presidential election and the June 27 run-off.
Sources close to the goings on at Sapes told the Zimbabwe Independent this week that Mandaza and Kazembe fell out when the former permanent secretary joined Simba Makoni’s presidential campaign in January as one of the senior members in the Mavambo/Kusile/Dawn movement.
Since then, the sources said, Kazembe and Mandaza do not see eye-to-eye.
“The two have now become enemies and there is a big fight between them given that Mandaza is accusing Kazembe of assisting Mugabe to rig the March 29 and June 27 presidential elections,” one of the sources said. “Kazembe is denying the allegation and she has received insults through text messages from Mandaza who is also threatening to have her fired from Sapes.”
The source said Kazembe’s office at Sapes had remained locked although she continued to visit the trust.
Kazembe is currently operating from the ZEC offices at Century House East in the capital’s CBD.
Mandaza, who is in Mozambique on private business, is alleged to have ordered the locking of Kazembe’s office to deny her access until the matter was resolved by Sapes’ trustees.
Mandaza yesterday denied that he was behind the bid to oust Kazembe.
He said there was unanimity among trustees that the former Constitutional Commission of Zimbabwe member was a liability to Sapes and that she had brought the name of the organisation into disrepute by taking part in rigging elections in favour of Mugabe.
“It was not me who started the issue of wanting to fire her,” Mandaza said. “It was a trust decision that she should be fired.”
He added that the trustee had written letters of complaint against Kazembe’s continued presence on the Sapes Trust’s board with some advocating that she be dismissed immediately.
“There were letters that were written by some members of the board (of trustees) to the effect that she should be fired. It is just the process that needs time,” Mandaza said.
Kazembe could not be reached at the time of going to press yesterday.
By Nkululeko Sibanda