Seven senior members of the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front, all believed to be loyal to ousted former Vice-President Joice Mujuru, were expelled from the party yesterday in a purge that poses a challenge to the group to form their own party.
Those expelled yesterday are:
- Ray Kaukonde, former provincial chairman of Mashonaland East and alleged to have been the main financial backer of Mujuru;
- Olivia Muchena, a relatively political lightweight;
- Dzikamai Mavhaire, a former heavyweight from Masvingo who was tasked with keeping Emmerson Mnangagwa in check;
- Kudakwashe Bhasikiti, a former provincial minister;
- Claudius Makova , a former legislator and soldier;
- David Butau, who was at the forefront of selling Mai Mujuru and her late husband Solomon Mujuru to the United States as the reformist element in ZANU-PF that had to be bailed out; and
- Kudakwashe Gope, a relatively unknown official.
The seven join Mujuru, former Secretary for Administration Didymus Mutasa, former Secretary for Information and Publicity Rugare Gumbo and former Mashonaland West provincial chairman Temba Mliswa who were expelled earlier.
Although several other party members were suspended for periods of up to five years, party spokesman Simon Khaya Moyo said those who were suspended remained party members.
The timing of the expulsion of the seven could be an indication that they are no longer a threat, especially in view of the wide speculation that those who had fallen out with President Robert Mugabe and were allegedly loyal to Mujuru would form a splinter ZANU-PF party.