ZANU-PF has suspended its Manicaland provincial chairperson Cde Mike Madiro and four other senior officials. The five were suspended on allegations of fraud and corruption involving over US$700 000 reportedly collected from diamond mining firms in Chiadzwa. They reportedly collected the money on the pretext that it was meant for party activities.
However, Cde Madiro denies the charges, saying his hands were clean.
The other affected officials are youth provincial chairperson Cde Tawanda Mukodza, youth provincial secretary for administration Cde Mubuso Chinguno, youth provincial secretary for security Cde Admire Mahachi and former Mutare Urban district co-ordinating committee chairperson Cde Clever Mparutsa.
Zanu-PF secretary for administration Cde Didymus Mutasa confirmed the suspensions yesterday.
He said the party's Presidium met at State House on Thursday and resolved to suspend the five officials pending police investigations.
Cde Mutasa said the suspended members would no longer be allowed to conduct any party activities until the matter is finalised.
He also dispatched suspension letters to the five yesterday.
In one of the letters, the Zanu-PF secretary for adminstration said the Presidium resolved to suspend the officials "with immediate effect from carrying any duties or activities in the name of the party . . ."
"This is in light of the current investigations being conducted by the ZRP into allegations of fraud, corruption, theft, embezzlement, or dishonesty that have been levelled against you.
"By copy of this letter, therefore, you are hereby so suspended with immediate effect without prejudice to any due processes that may ensue in line with the constitution of the party."
He said the police had released a preliminary report that had since been presented to President Mugabe.
"It is on the basis of this letter that these suspensions are made. The investigations by the police are still going on and this is why we are suspending them," said Cde Mutasa.
He said the suspensions would not affect the party ahead of general elections set for this year.
Cde Mutasa said leaders should be cadres of good repute and no party member would want to be led by a corrupt leader.
He said the party's provincial vice chairperson Cde Dorothy Mabika would be the acting chairperson until the matter was resolved.
Cde Madiro was in 2004 suspended from the party for allegedly participating in an illegal meeting at Dinyane Primary School in Tsholotsho to discuss party leadership.
Cde Madiro last night said everything that he had was out of his hard work.
"I challenge anyone to prove that surely I have embezzled the funds.
"In any case, I have worked hard for the party in Manicaland and this is the reward that I am getting," he said.
Cde Madiro said there were political games behind the allegations.
He said there was a plot to assassinate his character.
"I have been quiet for long and while I was being vilified, I reserve the right to take legal action to protect my character.
"I heard the police is investigating (the issue), let them do their investigations, but I know the truth shall set me free.
"I call those doing the investigations to speed up the process without fear or favour."
Cde Madiro said if he committed any crime, the police should do their job without any due influence from certain quarters.
He said there were some politicians in Manicaland who wanted to destroy his political career.
"I know very well that my life is in danger and some of these people want me out of the political radar."
Cde Madiro said he was a disciplined member of Zanu-PF and there was no way he could abuse party funds.
"I grew up in the party and I have gone through the party mill.
"I have been the party's director of finance for years and I know the rules and regulations that govern party funds," he said.
Cde Madiro warned those policians who were working to destroy his political career saying: "Those who live in glass houses should not throw stones."
He said he had been the Manicaland provincial chairman five times, but at no given time did he request for any leadership position.
Cde Madiro said the people of Manicaland always asked him to be their leader.