Rugeje hints political sabbatical

…post Zanu PF restructuring


Garikai Fadzi

Zanu PF secretariat for the commissariat Engelbert Rugeje has hinted that he will retire from active politics next year after an ongoing restructuring exercise, it has been established.

Rugeje took over from Saviour Kasukwere who was fired from the party last year for being linked to a faction which was coalescing around former first lady Grace Mugabe. The expulsion of the G40 faction resulted in some fissures ahead of the polls with some members of the party forming a new outfit called the National Patriotic Front which was also supported by former president Robert Mugabe.

The former army general was tasked to re-organise the party less than a year before the July 30 general elections in which Zanu PF won two thirds of the the House of Assembly seats. Incumbent president Emmerson Mnangagwa won 50,8 percent of the vote, closely followed by MDC Alliance presidential candidate Nelson Chamisa.

 “People should not be mistaken that jobs are found at ZANU PF HQ. l may leave next year after completing the party’s restructuring.l have played my part, under my watch, the party won convincingly,” he said. He could not be drawn to comment on whether he wanted to be back in government or not.

Rugeje was appointed by Mnangagwa at the party’s extra-ordinary congress in Harare, last year to take up the job on a full-time basis, a marked shift from his predecessor who also served in government.

He presided over a chaotic primary election where he received brickbats from senior party members like Chris Mutsvangwa for causing divisions in the party. Mutsvangwa who lost in the primaries before the winning candidate pulled out, lost to independent candidate Temba Mliswa for the Norton constituency seat.

Rugeje said the commissariat had played a leading role in consolidating the ruling party’s support in its traditional strongholds in the rural areas as well as improving its support in the urban centres.

Zanu PF received its first seat in Bulawayo south in such a long time and also retained its Harare south seat.

“There was some resistance to my methods, but the results are for all to see. I spent two weeks in Mashonaland Central around the Kanyemba area etc.No wonder we (ZANU PF) swept away all in its way in the province.”

 “Look at our numbers in Harare and Bulawayo, they show the hours we put in.”

The MDC Alliance is however challenging the just ended elections blaming the country’s electoral management body for manipulating the result. The alliance said it would take its challenge to the courts by tomorrow.