A NUMBER of ZANU-PF heavyweights who were suspended from the party last year as part of a vicious purge targeting former vice president Joice Mujuru’s allies might soon have their suspensions lifted, the Financial Gazette can exclusively reveal.
Among those tipped to enjoy a new lease of life under this dispensation are former Politburo members, Nicholas Goche and Webster Shamu, who were among the biggest casualties of a ruthless clean-up campaign that ended Mujuru’s political journey in ZANU-PF.
Over 200 high-ranking ZANU-PF officials were either suspended or dismissed from ZANU-PF between late 2014 and December 2015 for hobnobbing with Mujuru, who had to be stampeded out of the party on allegations of plotting to unseat President Robert Mugabe, unconstitutionally.
Also among those who were suspended are seasoned politicians such as Francis Nhema, Paul Chimedza, Munacho Mutezo, Callistus Ndlovu, Constance Shamu, Kindness Paradza and Andrew Langa, just to name a few.
Mujuru has since registered her own political party, the Zimbabwe People First (ZPF). While the former vice president has absorbed a good number of the victims of the ZANU-PF purge into her ZPF project, there are some who are still wandering in the political wilderness, with no political home of their own.
A ZANU-PF insider confided in the Financial Gazette this week that the party would soon lift the suspensions for those who have “repented from their wayward ways”.
“In order to build the party in the wake of the prevailing challenges within the movement, there is need to let bygones be bygones. We cannot continue to fire and suspend officials willy-nilly, like is the case now,” said the insider.
“A decision has since been taken by those who call the shots in the party to give reprieve to all those on suspensions so that these men and women could start working for ZANU-PF again,” he added.
A decision to that effect is expected to be made by the Politburo in due course.
Indeed, there have been statements, in recent weeks, suggesting that the leadership in ZANU-PF is now convinced that there is need to embrace those who may have transgressed from the party’s ideals for purposes of re-uniting the divided party.
ZANU-PF is currently rattled by internecine infighting between rival groups that are positioning their proxies to succeed President Mugabe in the event that he leaves politics.
The resultant cracks have been giving the party’s leadership sleepless nights as the clock ticks towards the 2018 general elections in which ZANU-PF is likely to face a united opposition.
Recently, Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko told a gathering of party supporters in Mhondoro that there were some cadres who were part of the Mujuru cabal who realised the folly of their ways and should be welcomed back into the party.
“Commissar, you have a lot of work to talk to cadres that we have worked with for a long time who have remained loyal to the party so that we welcome them back to the party. People like Shamu (Webster),” said the Vice President.
Attempts to get a comment from the party’s national political commissar Saviour Kasukuwere were unsuccessful.
At the rally, Shamu made a slogan denouncing Mujuru and her party before hailing President Mugabe and First Lady Grace Mugabe.
Shamu is one of those people who, despite being thrown out in the cold, has starkly refused to keep his head low.
From the day he was suspended, Shamu continues to fight for his second coming despite the public humiliation he has endured in his spirited, but faltering bid to bounce back.
Last year, he pitched up at the National Heroes Acres with his wife (also serving suspension from ZANU-PF) to commemorate Heroes Day and walked straight to the VIP tent and set themselves on top seats.
But their joy was short-lived as State security agents ordered them off, saying Shamu was no longer a government minister and therefore did not deserve a place at the high table. In shame, they stepped down to occupy empty seats in the sun, just outside the tent reserved for chiefs from where they followed proceedings.
While his former allies in the Mujuru camp boycotted the ZANU-PF congress in December 2014, Shamu made sure to grace every minute of it, albeit casting a forlorn figure upfront where he set himself against the thousands that mocked and indicted him.
Shamu is currently serving a five-year suspension from ZANU-PF.
Goche, just like Shamu, has kept contact with ZANU-PF, never mind the humiliation he at times suffers at the party’s public gatherings.
At a rally in Rushinga in October last year, the First Lady acknowledged Goche’s perseverance and had a few words for him.
“If leaders of the party charge you for indiscipline and they say step aside for some time, you should not lose heart. Keep faithfully working for the party and the country. In due time, you will be rewarded and be brought back into the party. We have some people here who were suspended from the party but are still working for it,” she said in a perceptible taunt.
And then at the end of the rally, Goche was one of the members who fell over each other to donate goods to poverty-stricken and hungry people of Rushinga through the First Lady.
At the Rushinga rally, it was the First Lady who announced that Goche had donated five tonnes of maize to the hungry community, at which point some women were heard singing Goche adzoka kumusha, mutambirei shuwa adzoka, in a bastardisation of a local Christian hymn. Loosely, the chanters were saying: “Goche has come back home, please accept him, he has surely come back home.”
Goche presented a perfect glimpse into the lives of former government ministers and former party bigwigs chucked out of the party.
Higher Education Minister, Jonathan Moyo, once described life outside ZANU-PF as “very cold”.
Follow us on Twitter on @FingazLive and on Facebook – The Financial Gazette