By Andrew Kunambura
FORMER State Security Minister Owen Mudha Ncube was fired from his lucrative job after he was crucified by newly installed Zanu PF Midlands provincial chairman Larry Mavhima during a stormy three-hour meeting with President Emmerson Mnangagwa at his Pricabe Farm in Kwekwe last Sunday, emerging details show.
Zanu PF insiders told NewZimbabwe.com Tuesday that Mavhima sought an emergency meeting with Mnangagwa intending to tender his resignation from the chairmanship, which he had just resumed insisting he could not work with Mudha because of his violent and bullying tendencies.
Mavhima also told Mnangagwa during the meeting that numerous provincial leaders were considering quitting the party because of Mudha’s conduct.
This was after more than a third of them walked out of a dramatic Provincial Coordinating Committee (PCC) meeting in Gweru the day before in protest against Mudha’s roguish behaviour.
During the meeting, sources said, Mudha paced up and down the hall where the meeting was taking place, hollering like a possessed man while his allies, like one Prosper Machando, threatened to assault Public Service Minister Paul Mavhima and Gokwe Nembudziya legislator Justice Mayor Wadyajena, prompting a mass walkout which brought it to a premature end.
He also had dozens of boisterous gangsters encompassing the venue of the meeting, an imposing and structure of incredible palatial tapestry, poised to act if need arose.
As the drama unfolded, former Energy Minister Fortune Chasi, who had been seconded by the Politburo to coordinate the process, lost control of the proceedings as he quietly and resignedly sank in his chair and later left the venue following the walkout.
Mavhima reportedly also told Mnangagwa during their farm meeting that Mudha habitually abused state security agents under his command and armed gangs to terrorise perceived adversaries around.
According to sources, Mavhima told Mnangagwa that Mudha reportedly worked in cahoots with Local Government Minister July Moyo, described by party officials as highly ambitious, in their bid to gain control of the provincial levers of power.
One source told NewZimbabwe.com Monday, July Moyo was being frequently referred to as “Prime Minister” during their shellacking political crusades ahead of the December provincial elections.
Mavhima further told Mnangagwa that he was unable to work with Mudha, who had also imposed himself as provincial vice-chairperson, and as such he would relinquish his leadership role unless the stern-looking politician was fired.
“What happened is that after the Saturday fiasco at the PCC meeting, some senior Zanu PF members advised Mavhima to go straight to the president and give him a full report of what transpired. And so on Sunday, he went to the president’s farm and they spent about three hours conversing about the issues,” a senior Zanu PF official said.
“The message he carried to the president was simple and clear: nobody was able to work with Mudha anymore. So it was a question of either to retain Mudha and risk dismantling the province or sack him and save the situation. Any leader in that situation would decide the way that ED did,” the source said.
“You should visit the province and see how excited people are with this development. In fact, this axe had been hanging over his head since last year when he started deploying some CIO (Central Intelligence Organisation) operatives and machete gangs to harass his rivals in a bid to win the provincial chairmanship position which he wanted,” the source added.
“So basically, the man had the rug proverbially pulled off his feet and when the province decided that Mavhima should be the unopposed chairman, he resorted to fighting for his proxies who were seeking other positions through violence and intimidation. The situation had become very tricky and the president really faced the inevitable choice of having to fire him.
“But he was not working alone. He was working in direct consultation with July Moyo, who leads a faction in the province that wants to dominate affairs here. It will not, therefore, be surprising to see the axe falling on him because he is basically the master controller and these are his runners,” the source said.
Another source also said while Mudha was only fired as a government minister, he for now retains his position in the party and his Gokwe Kana National Assembly seat while officials “wait signal from the powers that be on how to proceed”.