ZANU PF Matabeleland South chairperson Andrew Langa yesterday received backing from party national chairperson Simon Khaya Moyo who warned politburo members in the province against plotting his ouster.
Langa, who is also the Insiza North MP, is reportedly battling manoeuvres to eject him from office as factionalism takes root in the province with rival Zanu PF camps strategically positioning themselves ahead of the party’s elective congress in December.
According to some Zanu PF members in Matabeleland South, Langa’s influence is under test from some politburo members who are reportedly pulling in the opposite direction effectively leaving the province with two centres of power.
However, Khaya Moyo told Southern Eye that politburo members should respect Langa, adding that there was nothing sinister about him defending the under-fire chairperson.
Khaya Moyo said he had an obligation to defend Langa as an elected provincial chairperson in line with President Robert Mugabe’s pronouncements warning party politburo and central committee members against abusing their seniority by imposing themselves on provincial structures.
“There is nothing sinister in that. I am only defending the party constitution and everyone, including the politburo members, should respect the constitution,” he said.
“The constitution says the politburo members should not interfere with the day-to-day running of the affairs of the provinces.
“This constitution says the chairpersons are the head of the provinces and they are the ones who should run the party’s affairs on a day-to-day basis with their executives.
“Some politburo members were no longer respecting that clause in the constitution.
“The politburo members should let the chairpersons run the affairs of the provinces and only assist where they can, especially on matters of policy.”
Mugabe told party supporters at his birthday celebrations at Rudhaka Stadium in Marondera in February that politburo and central committee members should back off and leave elected provincial structures to handle party affairs in the provinces.
Mugabe was responding to reports that some politburo and central committee members were usurping powers of provincial executives to the extent of chairing provincial co-ordination committee meetings.
Khaya Moyo also told party officials from Matabeleland South at a meeting held on Friday to respect Langa and start campaigning for the 2018 general elections to register another clean sweep of the province.
Zanu PF clinched all 13 constituencies in Matabeleland South in last year’s elections to record a clean sweep under the stewardship of Langa for the first time since the MDC started contesting elections in 2000.
The Matabeleland provinces are generally regarded as strongholds of the opposition MDC, but the party is fast losing its grip after Zanu PF swept all seats in Matabeleland South.
Zanu PF also made some inroads in Matabeleland North by securing more seats.
Only Bulawayo remains in the hands of the MDC-T as the party secured all contested National Assembly and council seats.
Zanu PF politburo member Naison Khutshwekhaya Ndlovu confirmed that last week’s meeting reiterated that chairpersons be left to run their respective provinces without any interference.
“We were not dealing with an individual and when Khaya Moyo said people must respect Langa, he did not refer to him as an individual, but this was meant for all the chairpersons in all the provinces as he is yet to visit them,” he said.
“The issue of Langa was dealt with in March and since then nobody has come forward again complaining about him. I think he has reformed.”
Langa said he had a good working relationship with the entire leadership in the province.
The Sport and Culture minister said while he was expected to lead the province as the chairperson, he believed some guidance from senior members in the province was welcome and he also hailed Friday’s meeting for its resolutions.
“I have good working relations with the leadership in the province, but I also need some guidance from senior party leaders in the province,” said Langa.