President Mugabe has ordered warring parties in Zanu-PF Masvingo Province to set aside their differences and work as a united team to achieve socio-economic development and ensure the ruling party is well prepared for the 2018 elections. He made the call over the weekend during his second interface meeting with senior political leaders from Masvingo led by Politburo members Cdes Josaya Hungwe and Cde Shuvai Mahofa, who is also the Masvingo Provincial Affairs Minister.
The meeting was held at State House on Saturday and pitted ruling party National Assembly representatives from across Masvingo and some traditional leaders from Chiredzi on one side against Cdes Hungwe and Mahofa.
It was a follow-up to the first one held two weeks ago at Triangle Country Club in Chiredzi which was called by President Mugabe following a petition by 20 National Assembly representatives from Masvingo who raised complaints against Cdes Hungwe and Mahofa.
Zimbabwe Chiefs’ Council president Chief Fortune Charumbira, Chiefs Chitanga of Mwenezi, Marozva of Bikita and Serima of Gutu also attended the no-holds- barred meetings in their capacities as members of the Masvingo Provincial Assembly of Chiefs. Three Chiredzi chiefs — Gudo, Tshovani and Sengwe – acting Zanu-PF Masvingo provincial chairman Cde Amasa Nhenjana, Women’s League chair Cde Veronica Makonese and Cde Nobert Ndaarombe, the Youth League chair attended both meetings.
Lands and Rural Resettlement Minister Dr Douglas Mombeshora was also in attendance.
In his address at the end of presentations by the warring Masvingo parties, President Mugabe set the stage for a new era in Zanu-PF in the province after he demanded an end to factionalism and infighting, saying that senior ruling party leaders were supposed to work in unison with Members of Parliament. President Mugabe had called for an end to infighting in Masvingo.
“The President spoke after all the parties had made presentations and told us to unite and work as a team in Zanu-PF. He was listening attentively throughout as people were making presentations. At the end, he said the leadership of the party in the province (Cdes Hungwe and Mahofa) were supposed to work together with the Members of Parliament,’’ he said.
“The meeting was fruitful and I think it will change the state of Zanu-PF. At the end, I was approached by one of the senior leaders who was not talking to me before telling me to organise a party meeting to be attended by all party leaders from Masvingo to preach the message of unity,’’ added Cde Nhenjana.
Zanu-PF Chief Whip and Gutu Central Member of Parliament Cde Lovemore Matuke who also attended Saturday’s meeting said President Mugabe’s message was centred on the need for unity.
“The second round of our meeting with President Mugabe went on well. After presentations from both sides, he called for unity in Zanu-PF in Masvingo saying that the party leadership and the Members of Parliament were supposed to work together and consolidate the gains of the 2013 elections,’’ he said.
Senator Mahofa said President Mugabe emphasised the need for the ruling party to prioritise programmes that benefited people instead of expending energy on fighting each other. She said the ruling party was set for a new epoch as all the leaders who attended the no-holds barred meeting were told about the need to work as a team.
“The President was frank that he wanted to see unity within the party in Masvingo so that Government programmes are implemented to benefit our people. He said it was pointless for leaders to promote divisions when people were grappling with challenges such as hunger. In short, the President ordered us to go and work together and that is what we will do,’’ said Senator Mahofa.
Others who attended the meeting said Masvingo was never going to be the same again as all the parties had shown preparedness to work together after being admonished by the President for fomenting factionalism to the detriment of development in Masvingo. Zanu-PF political commissar Cde Saviour Kasukuwere, who also attended the meeting, could not be reached for comment.
In his remarks at the first meeting in the Lowveld, President Mugabe also appealed for peace and unity in Masvingo, reminding people that the province was key to the country because it is home to the Great Zimbabwe monuments from where the name of the country is derived.
President Mugabe called the two meetings after a petition from 20 Zanu-PF legislators who directed most of their fire on Senator Mahofa.
She was accused by Chiredzi chiefs and the legislators of favouritism in the allocation of 4 000 hectares of sugarcane plots recently acquired from Lowveld sugar producer Tongaat Hulett.
Senator Mahofa was accused of allocating most of the plots to her allies and relatives. She, however, shot down the allegations saying the allocations were done by her predecessors. She said she was yet to allocate land to even one person in Masvingo from the time she assumed office.
She was also accused of embezzling $20 000 donated by Tongaat Hulett for President Mugabe’s daughter, Mrs Bona Chikore’s wedding. Senator Mahofa reportedly dismissed the allegations saying Tongaat did not send the donation via her office but sent it directly.
She was also said to have illegally collected 900kg of Tongaat Hulett winter maize from each of the 26 legislators who were supposed to get 44,9 tonnes each for distribution to their constituencies.
She dismissed the allegation saying the maize that was collected was for distribution to vulnerable groups in the province such as Children and Old People’s Homes through the social welfare department.
Cde Hungwe and Senator Mahofa were also accused of collecting and diverting donations made to Zanu-PF by the Zimbabwe Sugar Milling Industry Workers Union (Zismiwu) before the ouster of former secretary general of the union Cde Admore Hwarare. But the pair denied the allegations saying the donations were made directly to the party through the then secretary for administration Mr Didymus Mutasa who has since been fired from the ruling party. herald