16 February 2014

Zimbabwe: Mujuru Quashes Debate On Corruption Stance

Harare — VICE-President Joice Mujuru was placed in an awkward position at the Zanu PF politburo meeting on Friday which came a few days after her comments questioning the ongoing anti-corruption drive, sources said.

Politburo sources said Mujuru pre-empted debate on the issue of corruption. But the politburo member said the VP was at great pains to explain her widely publicised comments dismissing the "Salarygate" scandal as the work of enemies allegedly trying to destroy Zanu PF from within.

"Without being asked by anyone, Mujuru tried to explain, saying that she was misquoted by the media. Mujuru insisted said she was against corruption and supported current investigations against parastatal bosses," he said. "But most of us looked at each other in disbelief that Mujuru was trying to disown something she said in front of television cameras."

The politburo member said members from the two main factions in Zanu PF, the one linked to Mujuru and another one said to be loyal to Justice minister, Emmerson Mnangagwa, were unanimous in calling for the prosecution of public official implicated in corruption.

He said while no one showed an interest in responding to Mujuru's about turn, President Robert Mugabe demanded that she further clarified where she stood in the corruption fight.

The politburo member said Mugabe was in a no-nonsense mood, warning that he would not protect anyone implicated in corrupt deals regardless of their position or standing in society.

He said there was a perception that Mujuru's earlier comments were allegedly meant to shield implicated parastatal bosses, some of whom were claiming that they were being victimised because they supported her.

"She was really in an awkward position. Her statement where she was also quoted as saying the media should stop reporting the allegations appears to give an impression that there were some untouchable people," said the Zanu PF official.

The issue of the Midlands provincial executive where the Mujuru and Mnangagwa factions are reportedly at each other's throat over influential positions, also took centre stage.

Another Zanu PF official said party national commissar, Webster Shamu came under fire for allegedly unilaterally dissolving the Midlands executive without consulting the politburo.

He said the politburo all but endorsed the reinstatement of the Midlands executive which was recently dissolved after a dispute over its composition. The official said a compromise was reached, that a few members from the Mujuru faction who were left out of the "basket" would be incorporated.

However, Zanu PF spokesperson, Rugare Gumbo said Mujuru managed to convince Mugabe and the politburo that she was against corruption.

He said Mugabe ordered decisive action to be taken against those implicated in corruption, while at the same time directing investigations to be spread to the private sector.

On the issue of Midlands, Gumbo said Shamu was tasked to work with provincial chairperson, Jaison Machaya to ensure that only those in the "basket" were given positions in a new executive.

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