The 19 were informed of their fate at a Provincial Co-ordinating Committee meeting which was characterised by violent skirmishes at the end of the meeting with party youths wanting to manhandle the suspended lot accusing them of selling out to the Dr Joice Mujuru-led Zimbabwe People First.
Besides Senator Masuku others suspended were members of the National Consultative Assembly Molly Mpofu, Fidelia Maphosa, Oppah Ncube and Eliphas Tshuma.Others were Christopher Sibanda, (Provincial Secretary for Information), Charles Ndlovu (Secretary for Environment and Tourism), Mlungisi Moyo, (Secretary for Indigenisation) and Rejoice Sibanda (Deputy Provincial chairlady Women’s league).
Additional party members who were also shown the exit door are Rose Kandiero (Secretary for Gender), Kevin Mudzidziwa,(Secretary for Economic Affairs), Miriam Moyo (Secretary for Legal Affairs), Siwinile Ncube (Secretary for Education), Garikai Zonde (Deputy Secretary for Economic Affairs Youth League), Victor Mpofu (Secretary for Transport), Caleb Sengu (Deputy Secretary for Education), Douglas Gangaidze, Shorai Sende and Blackwell Bulukutu.
After the suspensions were announced Mpofu was overheard challenging a member of the party’s youth league to come outside the party’s provincial headquarters.“Buya lapha Maqhawe (Sibanda) akulalutho ongangenza lona wena mntwana (come here Maqhawe there is nothing you can do to me you boy),” she said as other party youths were charging towards her and other suspended members.
Confirming the suspensions, the provincial chairperson, Dennis Ndlovu said this was not a war or a move to target certain individuals within the party but was a means of cleaning the party from within and defending it from anything that could threaten its unity.He said there was a possibility that the figure of suspended members would either increase or decrease as they were still trying to establish the people who attended the war veterans meeting in Entumbane.
“As a province we are not targeting anybody but people are targeting themselves. As party members we should be in a position to defend the party, therefore as a provincial chairperson I can’t just sit back while my own members attend an illegal meeting addressed by someone who was expelled by the party. We are not blaming them for attending but we are saying that if they were sincere they should have defended the party at that said meeting,” said Ndlovu.
On the suspension of Senator Masuku, Ndlovu said while she was a member of the National Consultative Assembly she was still a member of the province hence they still could suspend her, the only difference being that the final verdict would come from the party’s national disciplinary committee.“No one is bigger than the party, if you do something that we feel is against the principles then you are subject to appear before a disciplinary committee, a crime is a crime hence Cde Masuku cannot be exempted. What will happen now is that starting Monday (tomorrow) we will start the disciplinary proceedings because we do not want to drag this issue for a long period.
“Those on the list can then have a chance to defend themselves and it is now up to them to prove whether or not they were part of the meeting or not, if they were then I am sorry but we cannot allow ourselves to associate with such people,” said the provincial chairperson.He called on the province to be patient as they tried to build the party and ensure that they grow their membership. In the said meeting that was held in the city recently, Mutsvangwa invited former war veterans’ leader Sibanda who used the invitation to urge war veterans “not to be used”.