The sources said the “loyalists” were urging Mugabe to take stern action against the “spies” and the leaks presented them with an opportunity to achieve their long-held factional desire to dislodge Mujuru.
Mujuru is reported by whistleblower website WikiLeaks as having met former American Ambassador James McGee behind Mugabe’s back and discussed leadership renewal within the former ruling party.
She is also accused of being too close to Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC, a party working to oust Mugabe. The sources said loyalists, who comprise of Zanu PF hardliners, want Mugabe to initiate the disciplinary process before the party’s conference to be held in December in Bulawayo.
The loyalists were infuriated by Mugabe’s failure to raise the issue of Wikileaks at the party’s politburo meeting held a fortnight ago.
“What they want is to have all those accused hauled before a disciplinary committee,” said a source. “This will enable them to find a way of doing away with Mujuru, if she is found guilty by the committee.”
But Mugabe is reluctant to take action as this would destabilise his party, already riddled with factions.
Sources said the idea was first discussed unofficially by some of the senior Zanu PF officials on the sidelines of the party’s provincial meeting held in Mutare early this month.
Speaking at the provincial meeting, Zanu PF secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa said all those caught on the wrong side of the law should be punished regardless of the positions they held in the party.
The meeting was attended, among others, by Zanu PF national commissar Webster Shamu, youth chairperson Absolom Sikhosana and Muchinguri.
Mutasa yesterday professed ignorance of efforts to oust Mujuru saying the issue was never discussed at any meeting.
“We don’t do things like that,” said Mutasa. “There is no one who wants to remove Mai Mujuru. Don’t write such things. There is no one talking about it.”
Mutasa however said the issue of whether or not disciplinary action should be taken against the alleged sellouts was still being discussed in the party.
There are at least four distinct factions in Zanu PF. These are said to be led by Emmerson Mnangagwa, Mujuru, Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) chief, Constantine Chiwenga and one loyal to Mugabe.
Other senior Zanu PF official accused of selling out to the Americans include Vice-President John Nkomo, Defence minister Emmerson Mnangangwa, Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa, Tourism minister Walter Mzembi and Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor Gideon Gono.
Mujuru, Muchinguri fight for vice-president’s post not new
The fight for the vice-presidency between Mujuru and Muchinguri is not new as it has been going on for some time now. Comments made by McGee in 2009 shortly after meeting Mujuru show that Muchinguri has not relented in her fight for the post.
McGee said that apart from Mnangagwa, Mujuru also faced a challenge from Muchinguri, a close ally of Mugabe since the war of liberation. “Muchinguri is now head of the powerful Zanu PF’s women’s league and (possibly with Mugabe’s backing) may attempt to dislodge Mujuru from her position as vice-president at the Zanu PF congress in December,” he said.
In the June 17 2009 cable, Mujuru was said to be working behind the scenes with Tsvangirai. “Whether this is because of a newfound reformism or as a tactic against Emmerson Mnangagwa in the struggle to succeed Mugabe is unclear,” said the cable.
In 2009, the Mnangagwa faction reportedly unsuccessfully sponsored Muchinguri to wrestle the vice-presidency from Mujuru at the party’s congress.
Reports said the Mnangagwa faction had put in place a plan that would have seen Mujuru losing her seat in the presidium.
Mujuru and Muchinguri were allies when the former beat Mnangagwa for the position of Zanu PF vice-president at the 2004 congress following the infamous Tsholotsho meeting.
Last night, Muchinguri said she would not comment on the matter.“There is a more mature way of handling issues. We have procedures in Zanu PF.”