Owen Ncube fired as Minister after storming a Zanu PF meeting while drunk

by admin

By Nancy Samuriwo and Moses Gashu in Kwekwe

IN a dramatic turn of events, President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Monday fired his State Security Minister Owen “Mudha” Ncube, days after the Gokwe-Kana MP bussed violent al-Shabaab party youths to Gweru where he besieged a Zanu PF meeting and intimidated elected party officials.

Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet Misheck Sibanda, while making the announcement of Ncubes sacking in a statement on Monday, says the 53-year-old was relieved of his duties “for conduct inappropriate for a Minister of Government.”

“The President Cde ED Mnangagwa has in terms of section 340, subsection (1) paragraph (f), as read with section 104, subsection (1) pf the Constitution of Zimbabwe removed Owen Ncube from Office of Cabinet Minister with immediate effect for conduct inappropriate for a Minister of Government,” read the statement.

However, it has since emerged that Ncube is alleged to have crossed the President’s path several times in the past few months over the ruling party’s internal elections in the Midlands Province, where both the politicians hail from.

It has also emerged that provincial political heavyweight July Moyo advised President Mnangagwa to not wait any longer to fire Ncube as the party was bleeding votes in the province over Ncube’s conduct. Ncube is accused of running parallel structures in the Midlands province and jeopardising the ruling party’s chances of winning future elections in the province by creating disharmony among party leaders.

Ironically, Ncube in 2016 had a vote of no confidence passed on him by the Zanu PF Midlands Province on allegations of gross misconduct, running parallel structures, divisive conduct and promoting factionalism.

Speaking on the latest developments, two sources in the provincial structures said Nube’s firing came as no surprise especially to provincial officials who Ncube is reported to have harangued at a party meeting on Saturday in which he appeared to be intoxicated as he declared himself as provincial vice-chairperson.

“Ncube, unbeknown to him, has been on a long leash of late and his violent conduct in the province has finaly caught up with him,” a provincial executive member said hours after Ncube’s sacking. “Only a few days ago, he and his sister’s son Energy “Dhala” Ncube mobilised hoards of stone-drunk Al Shabaab militia to intimidate Zanu PF officials who were holding a provincial meeting at the Zanu PF Winery Conference Centre in Gweru.”

The source said while the meeting was being attended by participants of the previous week’s internal elections held two weeks ago, Ncube barged into the venue with his “six-car motorcade” and took over proceedings while insinuating that he was acting in the best interests of President Mnangagwa.

This was despite the fact that Ncube did not contest in the elections after the position he was angling for – party provincial chairperson – was handed to Larry Mavima by President Mnangagwa. Late last year, when all aspiring Zanu PF leaders were ordered not to campaign until a greenlight from the party, Ncube went on to launch a solo campaign on social media for the Midlands top post.

The campaign was even pushed by Presidential spokesperson George Charamba and Government spokesperson Nick Mangwana on social media, but the two spokespersons subsequently backed off after learning that President Mnangagwa was not keen on Ncube landing the position.

Said the party insider: “Mavima tried to ask Ncube why he was imposing himself as his deputy chairperson, to which Ncube said Mavima must shut up as he had not been voted into office.

“For far too long, Ncube has milked his close proximity to the President, riding roughshod over elected officials under the impression that he was the President’s enforcer.

“With his machete-wielding youths crawling all over the meeting venue, Mudha barged into the meeting and literally tore the agenda aside as he interrupted pre-arranged debate while openly interfering in deliberations by rudely suggesting that certain people had to be made party deputies or else there would be no peace in the province. He really appeared to be high on some substance.

“We were really scared, but some challenged his authority although in a respectful way. He would have none of it and declared that anyone not happy with his “additional candidates” could walk out. Kana mabaiwa budai, that is the exact language he used,” said the party official.

Another source said after the Gweru debacle, President Mnangagwa was warned by Local Government Minister and close confidant July Moyo that the ruling party would lose Midlands votes in the March 26 by-elections and the 2023 elections if Mudha was allowed free reign which was affecting party morale.

Another party official in the province, while corroborating the events when Ncube hijacked the Gweru meeting, added that the firing of Mudha was a long way coming.

“The Gweru event was that the Sarajevo incident Ncube had long made his bed and it was inevitable that the President was going to make him lie on it. It is July Moyo who took the message to the President that it was now time to crack the whip. Remember Moyo blames Mudha for his loss in the Redcliff parliamentary elections in 2018.”

Ncube is also accused of fighting Kandros Mugabe, a Zanu PF benefactor in Kwekwe who is eyeing the Kwekwe Central seat in the March 26 by-elections this year.

“From former chairman Daniel Mackenzie-Ncube to Kandros Mugabe, there is no leader Mudha hasn’t fought around here, and he always gave the insinuation that he was fighting the President’s wars.

“We also know that our provincial minister Larry Mavima once announced that the operations at G&P (Globe and Phoenix Pit) were against Environmental Management Agency (EMA) plans but Ncube and his gangs never listened. Now youths around the area threaten to not vote Zanu PF after being disenfranchised by Ncube and his nephew Energy.

“That guy Ncube has been way too toxic and divisive such that the party will need time to heal from the damage and strain he caused,” added the source.

Ncube, who has a past penchant for picking up fights on the streets of Amaveni in Kwekwe even when he was already MP, has long time has been accused of running the terror gang.

Youths aligned to him orchestrated violence in October 2020 at the Zanu PF Kwekwe offices and assaulted a person to death. The militia reportedly left scores of people injured after striking down many Zanu PF supporters and even provincial bosses using machetes and stones before commencement of an Inter District meeting.

When detectives sought to arrest them, the youths fled and took refuge at Ncube’s Kwekwe farm, where he eventually capitulated and ordered them to surrender to police.

In July 2014, Mudha Ncube was involved in a fistfight with fellow Zanu PF MP Masango Matambanadzo (Kwekwe Central) at Amaveni Shopping Centre in the city. The fight came after Ncube had allegedly instructed party youths to burn Matambanadzo’s car and shop in the suburb, saying he should go do Zanu PF politics in Mashonalaand West where he came from.

The following year, Ncube came to near-blows with then Minister Tapiwa Matangaidze at a Zanu PF meeting after Ncube allegedly instigated youths to jeer Matangaidze over his suspected links to G40.

Ncube was first appointed to Government as Midlands Minister of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution in 2017, an appointment that surprised many considering the huge expectations the people had on Government at the tie and Ncube’s checkered  past.

The Gokwe-Kana MP was re-assigned to head the Ministry of State for National Security in 2018, a position he held until his dismissal.

Meanwhile, Ncube becomes the fifth Minister to be fired by President Mnangagwa over the last three years. Others who have been booted out include Prisca Mupfumira, Fortune Chasi, Energy Mutodi and Obadiah Moyo.

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