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Intra-party fights rock ZANU PF

Bernard Mpofu

The Zanu PF politburo yesterday resolved that President Mnangagwa would constitute a commission of inquiry to investigate allegations raised by the Youth League.  This comes after intra-party fights rocked the ruling party after its youth wing engineered a whirlwind, accusing stalwarts and senior government officials of corruption.

Zimbabwe’s economy is facing a host of challenges such as erratic power supplies, rising inflation and corruption. The Youth League this week stirred the hornet’s nest when it accused several government bureaucrats and party official of allegedly engaging in corrupt activities.

On Monday, Zanu PF’s youth wing released a list of people being accused of trading foreign currency on the parallel market and graft.

The youth wing demanded a public statement that exonerates all the allegations against the people. On the list of the alleged dealers are central bank chief John Mangudya, Cabinet minister Prisca Mupfumira, ZANU PF secretary for Administration Obert Mpofu, legislator Tinomuda Machakaire, Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe GM Tongai Muzenda and Zimbabwe Miners Federation president Henrietta Rushwaya.

The infighting within the ruling party escalated this week when Youth League leader Lewis Matutu trolled Gokwe lawmaker Justice Mayor Wadyajena on social media.

“We are aware of what @JusticeMayorW and team are planning to sabotage our anti-corruption campaign, we are ready for all of you,” Matutu tweeted this week.

Wadyajena who left many raising eyebrows when he bought a Lamborghini SUV recently immediately responded to the claims.

“Get serious. We are all against corruption. If you are genuine about addressing corruption go to ZRP/ZACC & report! Not grandstanding with meaningless pressers & all because makanyimwa mari. You should start by addressing charges of corruption laid against you & your pathetic team. Pathetic!,” Wadyajena responded on microblogging site Twitter.

At the politburo, the party’s youth wing was also censured for not following laid down procedures by rushing to issue out a statement.

Mangudya responded yesterday with his lawyers instructing Matutu and youth league boss Pupurai Togarepi to retract the statements within five working days, apologise to the banker and pay defamation damages of ZWL$1 million. Failure to meet the demand would result in the lawyers instituting proceedings against Matutu and Togarepi without further notice.

Zimbabwe Miners Confederation president Henrietta Rushwaya, who was also accused by Matutu of being corrupt is also threatening to sue the youth leader over his claims.

“We have been instructed to demand, as we hereby do, that you provide, on or before 28 June 2019, any evidence or substantiation of your publication, allegations and utterances against our client, failure of which we have been instructed to demand, as we hereby do, that you provide, in the same manner, form and extent of circulation that you made your publication and utterances, on or before 1 July 2019, an unqualified and complete retraction of the defamatory statement…” wrote Rushwaya’s lawyers.

“Should you fail to meet the above demands, we are further instructed by our client to initiate an action for damages for defamation and such other Application for an interdict wherein punitive costs shall be sought against yourselves, which would be regrettable.”

The list of alleged bigwigs behind movements on the foreign currency market was released moments after government gazetted a statutory instrument which ended the multicurrency system which was introduced 10 years ago to tame runaway inflation. Before this currency reform, the United States dollar was trading at 12 against the local unit almost doubling the premium on the formal market.

“Corruption has violated the very foundation of the fight for democracy, as it continues to undermine socio-economic transformation and our generation is suffering immensely,” the Youth League said in a statement.

The party’s youthful supporters also threatened to shut out Mpofu from his office until he is cleared of corruption claims.

Sources said the ongoing fights prompted yesterday’s Politburo meeting in which several issues such as the state of the economy were addressed.

The Politburo is the party’s highest decision making body outside congress.

“The party should deal with the emerging fissures threatening the party. Tough decisions have to be taken going forward to maintain unity of the party,” a source familiar with developments in the party said.

The ruling party, sources said, is closely following the economic and political developments amid fears that mass protests could erupt following the monetary reforms. The country’s annual inflation neared the 100 percent mark in May and fears were heightening that the economy was now sliding towards pre-dollarisation times.

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