Zanu PF suspends top official

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ZANU PF yesterday suspended Masvingo provincial chairperson Lovemore Matuke for allowing expelled Bikita West MP Munyaradzi Kereke to contest the July 31 elections on the party’s ticket.

HERBERT MOYO/ ELIAS MAMBO

Zanu PF fired Kereke for insubordination when he contested in the July 31 elections after being told to withdraw and make way for his former workmate at the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, Elias Musakwa, to run on the party’s ticket.

Last week Zanu PF summoned Matuke and secretary for administration Edmond Mhere to answer charges of misconduct for endorsing Kereke’s candidature.

In a letter signed by national secretary for administration, Didymus Mutasa, the party points out that Matuke was advised that Kereke had been barred from contesting in the party’s primary elections held on June 25, but Matuke went against that advice and allowed him to contest.

However, sources in Masvingo said Matuke and Mhere were caught up in the factional matrix involving Vice-President Joice Mujuru and Justice minister Emmerson Mnangagwa’s battle to control the province.

Close sources also said the suspension was pushed by Tourism minister Walter Mzembi, Provincial Affairs minister Kudakwashe Bhasikiti and Energy minister Dzikamai Mavhaire, linked to the Mujuru faction.

“The three had a meeting at Mavhaire’s office and they pushed Mutasa to strategically suspend Matuke in preparations for next week’s provincial elections,” a senior Zanu PF official from Masvingo said.

Matuke, however, could not shed more light on the issue besides confirming he was suspended.

“I can confirm that I have been suspended from being the chairman pending investigations, but I am happy that I delivered 26 seats for the party in the last election,” he said.

“They waited until the eve of crucial provincial elections to suspend him,” a highly-placed source said.

“They don’t want him influencing the succession race at next year’s party congress, but they still value his input in other areas hence the decision this week to appoint him to chair the parliamentary portfolio committee on Mines and Energy.