A faction of the Zanu PF youth league is reportedly organising a massive demonstration against the party’s political commissar, Saviour Kasukuwere, tomorrow, accusing him of corruption, but a rival grouping has vowed to block the protest, as the ruling party’s factional fights escalate.
The planned demonstration, which comes after the government banned protests by opposition parties, marks the escalation of Zanu PF factional fights, blamed on President Robert Mugabe’s obstinacy in not anointing a successor.
Kasukuwere is accused of stealing youth funds, National Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Board funds, community share ownership trust funds when he was the Youth minister, plunder of the country’s wildlife when he took over the Water, Climate and Environment ministry, destruction of people’s homes and doling out residential stands to his cronies and relatives when he was appointed Local Government minister.
The march, dubbed Anti-Corruption Mega Demo, is due to start at the open space near the Harare Magistrates’ Court at 10am.
The anti-Kasukuwere demonstration comes shortly after Mugabe last week publicly accused the Local Government minister of corruptly grabbing land earmarked for development of residential stands for Zanu PF youths and selling it to his cronies, among them Prophetic Healing and Deliverance Ministries leader Walter Magaya.
But Zanu PF national youth secretary, Kudzanai Chipanga, yesterday distanced himself from the planned demonstration, describing the organisers of the event as “malcontents, who are bent on abusing youths”.
“As far as I know, the youth league is not planning any demonstration against our political commissar,” he said.
“Why would we plan a demonstration when we know that our stands are there? It is not true that the land meant for youths was sold. As far as I know, the land is there and we are waiting for servicing being done by the ministry and then we start the allocation of the said land to beneficiaries.”
Zanu PF Harare provincial youth leader, Edson Takataka, said the demonstrators would be dealt with ruthlessly.
“I don’t think anyone in Zanu PF will do that. As I am talking to you, I have approved plans for our stands and this information we are reading in the Press that our land was sold, I don’t know what its source is,” he said.
“Let me urge our youths not to be used by anyone and for whatever reason, but to follow protocol whenever they want accurate information.
“It’s us who told them about the stands and we have not received anything or any information suggesting that our land, given to us by the President, had been sold. I don’t want to comment on what happened in the politburo, but, according to information on the ground, this is what is happening, we have our land.
“The youths must listen to us their leaders. Soon, we are going to engage their district leaders and formulate ways and guidelines on who is going to benefit and how.”
It was not immediately clear who was organising the demonstration, although there was speculation that some youths, who were expelled from Zanu PF, were behind the march.
This comes as activist, Stan Zvorwadza was allegedly assaulted by the police after he went to Harare Central Police Station with a petition to have Kasukuwere arrested.
“We went to the police charge office to deliver a petition that Kasukuwere must be arrested because he is corrupt,” he told a Press briefing later.
“We have been demonstrating against him since 2014. We have realised that everyone, including the President, now knows that Kasukuwere is corrupt and delivering the petition signals that, as citizens, we want to see him arrested.
“Unfortunately, police descended on me heavily with batons and we didn’t manage to do it. To us, it is a serious violation to our rights. We are going to take it further even beyond the borders.”
Last week, Mugabe quizzed Kasukuwere before the start of the politburo meeting on allegations that the land meant for youths had been sold to individuals, among them Magaya and some top Zanu PF officials.
Kasukuwere denied the allegations saying the media had misrepresented facts, but Mugabe was not amused and kept prodding him.