ZANU PF Midlands provincial members aligned to Justice minister Emmerson Mnangagwa’s faction have said Midlands will remain unmanageable until irregularities that marred the disputed provincial elections held in November last year are resolved.
A senior party official in the province called on the politburo to reconsider its decision to endorse the provincial polls, which were marred by accusations of vote-buying, intimidation, disenfranchisement and ballot-rigging — the same allegations which have bedevilled Zimbabwe’s elections mainly since 2000 after the formation of the opposition party, MDC.
“We told them we will not recognise the provincial elections until a report comes from the politburo correcting those issues we raised last year,” said the source.
“We were also clear that if the activities in the province are not scrutinised, then the politburo or the national commissariat should run the province.”
This comes after the Zanu PF commissariat dissolved the Midlands provincial executive last week after top party officials stormed out of a tense meeting a fortnight ago as members from the two main factions led by Mnangagwa and Vice-President Joice Mujuru failed to resolve contentious faction-related issues.
he factional battles have led to newly-elected chairperson Jason Machaya losing control of the province.
The meeting was convened to deliberate on outstanding issues after some irregularities were noted in last year’s provincial elections in order to pave way for the election of deputy provincial chairpersons and other members of the provincial executive.
Another highly-placed source in the Midlands said the provincial co-ordinating committee (PCC) members rejected proposals to have members who lost the elections included in the executive largely composed of Mnangagwa loyalists.
“How can the party leadership led by (party national spokesperson Rugare) Gumbo try to impose Chiratidzo Mabuwa and Fred Moyo who lost the elections into the provincial leadership?” asked the source.
Mabuwa and Moyo are said to be aligned to the Mujuru faction.
However, Gumbo refuted allegations that he wanted to impose people into the executive.
“The problem is that members in the Midlands are rejecting a directive to comply with party rules. The people whom they are pushing out were in the basket and they are supposed to be part of the executive,” Gumbo said.
Gumbo also said the problems in the Midlands do not lead to national chaos because these were unique to that province.
“Midlands is a unique case and it does not mean all other provinces are in a similar situation,” he said.
Following the controversial provincial polls last year, Zanu PF provincial chairpersons aligned to Mujuru, who romped to victory in the highly contentious party elections, have been facing stiff resistance from their executives and PCCs in some provinces, whose majority are said to be loyal to Mnangagwa.
Recently, party insiders told the Zimbabwe Independent chairpersons in Masvingo, Midlands and Mashonaland Central are finding the going tough as most of the members who constitute the PCCs are said to be aligned to Mnangagwa.
In Masvingo, the PCC rejected the provincial executive appointed by new chairperson, Chiredzi South legislator retired Major-General Callisto Gwanetsa, saying elections should be held to fill the posts.