THERE was drama at a Zanu-PF Mashonaland West provincial executive committee meeting which ended prematurely yesterday afternoon after embattled provincial chairman Cde Temba Mliswa refused to recuse himself when asked to do so over the spy-gate saga in which he is being accused of working with and receiving money from a CIA operative attached to the US embassy in Harare. Mashonaland West is reportedly seeking guidance from the Politburo over Cde Mliswa’s continued leadership of the province.
Despite admitting to asking for money from the US embassy at a Press conference he convened in Harare in the morning, Cde Mliswa launched into a tirade against senior party members in the province in the afternoon when confronted over the spy-gate saga as he trashed Politburo members Cdes Ignatius Chombo, Patrick Zhuwawo, and Mr Ziyambi Ziyambi and his wife Florence whom he accused of corruption. Cde Mliswa then had an altercation with Women’s League secretary for finance Mrs Beauty Zhuwawo, wife to Cde Zhuwawo, who slapped him over the insults he was heaping on her husband who was not in the meeting. The fallout was reportedly sparked by alleged disparaging remarks made by Cde Mliswa to the effect that Cde Patrick Zhuwawo and his wife Beauty were a “disgrace to the First Family”.
Cde Patrick Zhuwawo does not sit in the provincial executive committee meeting. Sources said this did not go down well with Mrs Zhuwawo who confronted Cde Mliswa and slapped him right in the face, shouting angrily that she would do more harm to him as he had no right to talk about her husband who was not in the meeting. Earlier on, according to sources, Mrs Zhuwawo had thrown a bottle of water at Cde Mliswa which, however, missed the target.
Sources said the meeting had shown simmering tensions from the onset. Some members wanted the “Spy-gate” issue on the agenda.
Cde Mliswa, the sources said, was asked to recuse himself from chairing the meeting in the face of the serious allegations being levelled against him.
“The meeting showed ominous signs from the onset after people argued over the inclusion of the allegations levelled against the chairman of spying for the American Government. Some said they could continue the meeting with Cde Mliswa as chairman,” said a source. The attack on the Zhuwawos by Cde Mliswa allegedly stems from comments made by Cde Patrick Zhuwawo in articles carried in our sister paper The Sunday Mail.
According to the sources Cde Mliswa also made corruption allegations against Mrs Florence Ziyambi, who is the deputy Attorney General and wife to Mashonaland West deputy provincial chairman Cde Ziyambi Ziyambi.
“He also accused Minister (Ignatius) Chombo of corruption and also said President Mugabe didn’t like Cde Patrick Zhuwawo,” the sources added.
After the altercation, Cde Mliswa went to the police station and The Herald caught up with him as he came out of the station.
He denied knowledge of the altercation and referred all questions to the provincial Secretary for Information and Publicity Cde Simbarashe Ziyambi. “I don’t know anything about the issue. Talk to the provincial secretary for Information and Publicity,” he said.
Cde Ziyambi would, however, not comment on the issue.
Makonde District police officer Superintendent Moyo, said police had not received a formal report .Mrs Zhuwawo referred questions to Cde Ziyambi.
Cde Ziyambi confirmed the meeting was aborted after Cde Mliswa refused to recuse himself from chairing the meeting.
“The meeting was aborted. People were dissatisfied by the conduct of the provincial chairman of taking Americans to the province. It then generated personalities with Cde Mliswa insulting me saying I was a corrupt and useless minister. He also insulted my wife, Minister Chombo and everyone. He said there was nothing wrong with Americans,” he said.
Cde Ziyambi said they were going to take the matter to the Politburo.“We will compile a report and hand it over to the Politburo. Politburo who will then give us direction on whether he should continue as the provincial chairperson. If he is cleared, that is ok,” he said. In an interview with our sister publication, The Sunday Mail this week, Cde Mliswa admitted that he had taken suspected US CIA operative, Mr Eric Little, to his constituency (Hurungwe West) in June and allegedly told constituents to stop saying “Pamberi neZanu” and embrace US money. Party officials on the tour also said Cde Mliswa introduced Mr Little to headmen and villagers, and held meetings in wards 15 and 20 of the constituency with councillors.
In the interview Cde Mliswa said there was nothing wrong with the meeting because security agents in Mashonaland West cleared it. “We are even using the US dollar . . . that is the biggest infiltration by the Americans because we are using their money. “The visit by Little was well known by the police and the President’s Office; he was accompanied by two State security agents. I am not stupid; I can prove that by way of producing all the communication to show that everything was above board“There is nothing amiss about the US funding projects that help the ordinary; they are allowed by Government. Let’s not play cheap politics.
“We know it’s a few months before the (Zanu-PF) Congress and people are plotting a coup against me. It’s a witch-hunt,” he said.