Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s ally and Zanu PF politburo member, Joram Gumbo has been thrust into the hot seat of acting Midlands provincial chairperson for the next three months, as the ruling party seeks to restore order in the deeply divided region.
BY Stephen Chadenga/BLESSED MHLANGA
Gumbo was appointed interim provincial chairperson at a provincial co-ordinating committee meeting held in Gweru yesterday led by Zanu PF national commissar, Saviour Kasukuwere.
Prior to Gumbo’s appointment, Kasukuwere had appointed provincial secretary for administration, Tapiwa Matangaidze as acting chairperson following the suspension of Kizito Chivamba.
Kasukuwere ordered the province to remain united and learn to solve its own problems.
“There is no province in the party that does not have its challenges. The big thing is how we resolve such contradictions,” he said.
“Midlands (Zanu PF), let us tone the volume down. Where we can resolve our issues, let’s resolve them. Where there is need for higher intervention, fine, let us build our party.”
Kasukuwere said the 2018 elections were close and the party could not afford to continue fanning divisions and chaos.
He said there was need to bring finality to pending disciplinary issues and added that the conflicts were giving the party leadership sleepless nights.
However, in a move that could be viewed as pacifying the Generation 40 and Mnangagwa’s backers, all the no-confidence votes were nullified, with members remaining in their original positions except for incoming acting chairman (Gumbo).
Insiders said Kasukuwere was forced to eat humble pie after he attempted to retain Matangaidze as the acting chairperson.
“He clearly did not have the support that he anticipated and was forced to withdraw Matangaidze from the post of acting chairman. We did support Gumbo because he knows the party constitution and the road we have walked,” a Zanu PF source who declined to be named said.
“It was a no-holds-barred meeting filled with tension and only Kasukuwere supported Matangaidze. We released evidence of how he was trying to use the position of acting chairperson to bring us to war with each other. Kasukuwere wanted to have his way, but we stood our ground.”
Gumbo, who later addressed the PCC soon after Kasukuwere left the venue, invited deputy chairperson Daniel Mackenzie Ncube and Matangaidze to the high table, where he introduced them as vice-chairman and secretary respectively, before asking them to bury the hatchet and hug each other.
“Let us build our own province. We can’t allow our province to be mended by people from outside,” he said.
Gumbo warned party members, who were not willing to work with others in the province that in his three months tenure as acting chairperson, they would be heavily dealt with.
Gumbo said those in the PCC should not belittle central committee and politburo members from the province.
“We don’t want a scenario where a party member fears to talk to Matangaidze for fear of being labelled his (Matangaidze) faction or to Mudha (secretary for security in the province Owen Ncube) and be called his (Ncube) faction,” he said.
“We are giving each other a second chance and should, therefore, walk the talk.”