ZANU-PF is set to wield the axe on some members of its secretariat following the Politburo’s approval of secretary for administration, Ignatius Chombo’s planned shake-up.Chombo, the head of the secretariat, tabled his proposed administrative changes at last week’s Politburo meeting whose chief mission is to realign the workforce to the prevailing political winds within the ruling party.
While the exercise will render many jobless, it seeks to cut the ballooning wage bill for the party which is running thin on resources.
Chombo’s top targets are senior staffers based at the party’s national headquarters in Harare and at the provinces around the country although it will cascade down to district level.
The move is being seen in some circles as part of a “witch-hunt” targeting staffers believed to be sympathetic to fired vice president, Joice Mujuru, who led a faction fingered in plots to remove President Robert Mugabe from power outside the confines of the Constitution.
The other faction, now in control of the levers of power in ZANU-PF, is led by Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Didymus Mutasa, who was replaced by Chombo as secretary for administration, was identified as the lynchpin of the Mujuru camp.
Politburo insiders said Chombo was planning to target party workers who were said to have been recruited by his predecessor.
He has since ordered the dismissal of the editor of ZANU-PF’s internal publication, The People’s Voice, Tendai Munengwa, along with a host of its interns.
Munengwa, a former Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation senior political reporter, had been hastily recruited by Mutasa to try and weather a torrent of State media onslaught on Mujuru and her allies.
Youth league director, Tapiwa Zengeya, who is embroiled in a messy agricultural inputs scandal, is one of those who have since resigned while another senior staffer sucked in the same scum, Nelson Mahupete, is also facing an uncertain future.
Chombo this week denied that his move was a witch-hunt preferring to call it “a routine exercise which was already long overdue.”
“There is no need to panic here. Every organisation carries its restructuring exercise from time to time and so there is nothing to be afraid of. We are starting a five-year journey until the next congress in 2019 and we want to make sure we have got a workforce strong enough to carry us through. So there is no need for conspiracy theories,” Chombo said.
President Mugabe has previously said there was need to relook the party’s workforce as many workers were brought through the back door and do not have proper designations.
The party has also been struggling to raise money for its workers’ salaries which saw them go for months without pay last year.