By Mutsa Makuvaza and Godfrey Kotami
PRESIDENT Mnangagwa has fired the Zanu PF director-general for administration (administration) Retired Major-General Dickson Dzora after 17 years on the job, it has emerged.
Dzora, a 61-year-old war veteran who served in the army before turning to Zanu PF for a job, has been relieved of the job he occupied since 2005 after last month’s ballot printing scandal that has sucked in other top party executives.
Last week, HourlyHits reported that Zanu PF was embroiled in a massive corruption scandal at its headquarters in Harare where senior party bosses allegedly took away a ballot printing contract from Jongwe Printers and gave it to a backyard company which they control, pocketing millions in the process.
Jongwe Printers, which is wholly owned by the ruling party, normally handles all the printing business, but in December’s countrywide provincial elections, a backyard company known as VGP Technologies ended up snatching the money-spinning contract under unclear circumstances.
However, it has since emerged that VGP Technologies had no capacity to do the job, as they went on and subcontracted another company called Light Press, which operates from 17 Conald Road in Graniteside, Harare, to print the ballot papers.
VGP Technologies is based at Engineering House in Harare’s CBD, and its ownership details were not yet available at the time of publishing.
Jongwe Printers had initially, as per tradition, been granted the contract but it was surreptitiously taken away from them on the pretext that it was overpriced. When executives at Jongwe then offered lower prices to match what was offered by VGP Technologies, they were still turned down.
“Jongwe had already begun printing the ballot papers for Zanu PF’s internal elections when they learnt that the contract had been taken away from them,” a source at the Zanu PF headquarters told HourlyHits. “This was a shock to Jongwe executives because, as per tradition, they print all Zanu PF conference, congress and inernal elections material and only negotiate the price afterwards.
“But in the week leading to Christmas, they discovered the printing job had been taken away from them without sufficient explanations. Jongwe management then enquired with Matuke (Zanu PF Secretary for Security, Lovemore Matuke), and the cat came out of the bag,” said the source.
Matuke then deployed the party’s internal security as well as liaised with Owen Ncube (the fired State Security Minister) to second some Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) operatives to carry out investigations into the scandal.
Although the CIO is a Government department, it is not unusual to see the operatives doing Zanu PF duties at the party’s headquarters, including providing security and carrying out investigations on instructions from the party’s executives.
The investigation reportedly discovered that VGP Technologies did not have the capacity to do the job bust still made a profit after it clandestinely subcontracted Light Press to do the job.
Apart from Dzora, sources revealed that at least two other Zanu PF staffers were fired after the Zanu PF Politburo meeting on Saturday. Those fired include an IT department staffer and Dzora’s aide, it has been reported.
Shortly before the order to fire Dzora was issued on Saturday, President Mnangagwa had warned party cadres against pushing their self-interests ahead of those of the party.
“We are a party that has a rich revolutionary legacy and let no one at any stage of our development seek to undermine or destroy this history. You will get destroyed yourself,” he warned.
Born in 1960 in Zaka, Masvingo Province, Dzora left school in Chipinge at Form 2 in 1975 to join the war in Mozambique. After training at Chimoio, Dzora survived the November 1977 attack on Chimoio by Rhodesia forces after hiding in a cave.
He was then deployed to the front until 1979, when he was sent to Libya for further training. He returned in 1981 and was attested into the army as a Major at Zimbabwe Military Academy in Gweru.
He later on served in the Presidential Guard as a commanding officer until 1994, when he left the army to venture into butchery business at Mereki, Warren Park.
When the MDC was formed in 1999 and Zanu PF was under pressure, Dzora was invited back into active party duty by then war veterans leader Chenjerai Hunzi to “re-organise the party’s commissariat department” which Mugabe considered too weak to stand the pressure of international isolation following the land reform programme.
Dzora served as the deputy director of the Zanu PF commissariat from 2001 to 2004. The Zanu PF Politburo then elevated him to director-general (administration) in 2005, a position he occupied until Saturday.