ZANU-PF targets James Mushore
EMBATTLED Harare town clerk James Mushore tops the list of city administrators ZANU-PF does not want to stay a day longer in their positions because they may frustrate the party’s power-retention strategies, the Financial Gazette heard this week.
Mushore, in particular, is being viewed as an obstacle to ZANU-PF’s grand plan to secure more seats in the metropolitan province because of his strong grounding in systems and processes, having worked as a banker for many years.
With elections due in two years, the party does not have much time to follow the rigors of urban planning hence administrators such as Mushore do not fit into ZANU-PF’s modus operandi which, in the main, involves dishing out freebies to party faithful to enlist their patronage.
As a result, the party is determinedly fighting for the sacking of Mushore whose closeness to former vice president Joice Mujuru has worsens matters.
Mujuru was sacked from ZANU-PF in 2014 for allegedly scheming to unconstitutionally topple President Robert Mugabe from power. Mujuru has denied this allegation.
Mushore was the nephew of the late army general, Solomon Mujuru, husband to the sacked former vice president.
Mujuru now leads a new political party called Zimbabwe People First, or ZPF, which appears to be gaining traction and sympathy from disillusioned ZANU-PF members.
Recently, President Mugabe alleged that the late Mujuru, who died in an inferno at a farm house in Beatrice, had campaigned against him during the 2008 elections in which he lost to Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T) leader Morgan Tsvangirai by 43,7 percent, to 47,9 percent, resulting in a run-off presidential election from which Tsvangirai pulled out due to alleged violence against his supporters.
Simba Makoni, who had defected from ZANU-PF to form Mavambo/Kusile/Dawn about two months earlier, garnered eight percent of the vote in that presidential election.
President Mugabe went on to win the run-off election, but a worsening domestic crisis and unprecedented international outcry forced him into a coalition government.
The ZANU-PF leader has alleged that Makoni started his political project with the blessing of the late general Mujuru, allegations the former vice president and Makoni have both denied. The WikiLeaks cables, however, revealed that Mushore had suggested that the Mujurus were solidly behind Makoni’s presidential candidacy.
The late Mujuru was said to have led a “Bhora musango” campaign, in which ZANU-PF supporters were allegedly asked to vote for the party’s parliamentary and local authority candidates in the harmonised elections, but to vote for anyone else apart from President Mugabe in the presidential race.
President Mugabe got fewer votes than his Members of Parliament in many constituencies.
Around the same time, leaked WikiLeaks cables went on to suggest that Mushore had asked the United States government to prevail on German company, Giesecke and Devrient, to stop printing money for Zimbabwe to damage President Mugabe’s government and undermine his electability.
Mushore gave the advice in February 2008 when he was still NMBZ’s managing director, and the German firm was to later halt printing notes for the country, triggering a crisis for government.
As far as the ZANU-PF leadership is concerned, Mushore’s links to both the MDC-T and ZPF makes him the deadliest weapon the opposition has in its arsenal.
A source told the Financial Gazette that the position of town clerk for Harare was “critical to ZANU-PF’s politics” and could therefore not be allowed to slip into the hands of an adversary.
“The town clerk is involved in the allocation of houses, residential and commercial stands. In fact, he has to work even with State security for government to appreciate the security situation in the city,” said the source, who is a veteran in ZANU-PF and works for government.
“You need a town clerk who is compliant; you don’t want someone who will likely demand that there should be urban planning first…In fact, Mushore’s resistance against moves to sack him have made the party even more determined to push him out. We don’t mind even if he is paid out for the remainder of his full contract as agreed with council. He just has to go,” he said.
The Financial Gazette was also informed that ZANU-PF was troubled by the prospect that Mushore could use his position to start investigating a number of ZANU-PF deals facilitated by previous town clerks. This could unearth a lot of scandals involving influential figures in the governing party.
Mushore was appointed town clerk in March after a rigorous selection process involving reputable consultancy firms as well as councillors and stakeholders.
The city had been without a town clerk since the sacking of Tendai Mahachi in June last year.
But the appointment of the former banker triggered a political storm, with Kasukuwere demanding the reversal of the appointment on account of the fact that he and the Local Government Board had not been consulted in terms of the Urban Councils Act (UCA).
Council had made the appointment based on provisions of the new Constitution which gives it the autonomy to make executive appointments without interference from government or any of its organs.
Kasukuwere, who is also the ZANU-PF national political commissar, had then moved to suspend Harare mayor, Bernard Manyenyeni, after council defied his directive to sack Mushore.
Manyenyeni challenged the suspension at the High Court; he is also challenging some sections of the UCA, which he says are ultra vires the Constitution.
But High Court Judge, Justice Mary Dube, ruled against him, determining, however, that although Kasukuwere could not fire the mayor in terms of the law, the Local Government Minister had to appoint a tribunal to determine his fate within 40 days from the time of suspension.
But after the 40 days expired without the establishment of a tribunal to hear Manyenyeni’s case, acting Local Government Minister, Jonathan Moyo, reinstated Manyenyeni, only to suspend him after 24 hours on a new charge: Resisting audits of companies owned by the Harare City Council under its private enterprises vehicle, Sunshine Holdings Limited.
“These are all decoys,” said another ZANU-PF source who is a member of the ruling party’s Politburo. “It’s all about Mushore. ZANU-PF wants Harare City Council by 2018.”
Mushore, who was sent on forced leave by the MDC-T dominated council now led by acting mayor Chris Mbanga, but continued to report for duty, turned up for work last Friday only to find locks to his office door changed.
He blamed chamber secretary and acting town clerk, Josephine Ncube, whom ZANU-PF wants to be the town clerk for the city, of locking him out of his office and trying to sabotage him. He has now sued Mbanga alleging he ordered Town House workers to lock him out.
It had been expected that once Kasukuwere had voiced his concern against the appointment of Mushore, the new town clerk was expected to seek audience with the minister and declare his loyalty to him.
“If he had come and pleaded with the party, perhaps that would have given the party an opportunity to relate with him and given him a briefing. But as it stands, he declared a fight,” said the source.
Follow us on Twitter @FingazLive and on Facebook – The Financial Gazette