BY MOSES MATENGA
ZANU PF has threatened to suspend party members hobnobbing with former national commissar Saviour Kasukuwere amid accusations that some were putting his image as well as that of the late former president Robert Mugabe on party WhatsApp groups.
The party also wants party members to always denounce its former commissar, popularly known as Tyson, who relocated to South Africa after the November 2017 coup that toppled Mugabe and ushered in President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s rule.
Kasukuwere has been linked to a plot to challenge Mnangagwa in the 2023 general elections, a move that has heavily polarised ruling party structures, with some opposed to Mnangagwa’s rule seemingly warming up for his return.
The ruling party is now sweating over Kasukuwere’s possible return, a development that will further split the party already polarised along Mnangagwa and his deputy Constantino Chiwenga factions.
Zanu PF insiders have disclosed that secretary for war veterans Douglas Mahiya a fortnight ago told party members at the ruling party’s Harare headquarters that a decision had been taken to suspend anyone, who will be found having links to Kasukuwere.
Mahiya initially put a notice to that effect on the notice board before removing it. He went on to read it to party members from Harare’s zone 4.
The purpose of the meeting was to announce the elevation of Harare Provincial Affairs minister, Oliver Chidawu into the politburo.
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Chidawu wanted to be Harare provincial chairperson before his appointment into the politburo.
“There is a memo advising party structures that anyone, who is found supporting Kasukuwere will be suspended from the party,” a party insider said.
“Mahiya told party structures that anyone found with Kasukuwere’s picture on their WhatsApp status or party group icons will be suspended. This also included Mugabe’s picture.
The party wants to dilute Kasukuwere’s perceived support base in the ruling Zanu PF party.”
According to the insider, Mahiya repeatedly threatened stern action against party members, who violated the order during the district coordinating committee (DCC4) meeting.
“It was made clear that all meetings should denounce Kasukuwere and the G40 cabal without fail and anyone who is seen posting pictures of him, even with Mugabe in that picture, should face disciplinary action,” the insider added.
Mahiya refused to comment yesterday saying: “I cannot comment on that issue.”
Mahiya is reported to have taken the same message to other provinces to try to destroy Kasukuwere’s perceived support within the party structures.
Zanu PF is using mostly 2014 party structures that worked with Kasukuwere as the commissar.
There have been reports that most party structures opposed to Mnangagwa and are currently backing Chiwenga to take over, are backing Kasukuwere.
Zanu PF is having sleepless nights over a possible G40 resurgence amid reports that a faction within the ruling party was rooting for the former Local Government minister to come back and lead the party ahead of the 2023 harmonised elections.
Some politburo and central committee members, insiders claimed, were reaching out to Kasukuwere although publicly blasting the former commissar.
Last month, Zanu PF confirmed that a witch hunt was underway to flush out those suspected to be linked to Kasukuwere who the party suspects was behind a push through legal and other means to oust Mnangagwa and “reclaim” the party.
Zanu PF has accused Kasukuwere of being behind the High Court application by party activist Sybeth Musengezi challenging Mnangagwa’s ascendancy to power in 2017 following the military coup that led to the ouster of Mugabe.
Kasukuwere has denied the allegations.