THE new battleground for Zanu PF factions tussling for control of strategic party structures is now being fought at the Youth League level, as party heavyweights use a variety of tactics including intimidation and threats to influence its selection.
Faith Zaba/Clayton Masekesa
Factions and individuals within the party have started positioning themselves for the December congress amid indications the battle for central committee positions, youth and women’s leagues will be dirty and acrimonious.
Youth League inter-district conferences have been lined up under the guise of discussing ZimAsset by senior party officials aligned to Vice-President Joice Mujuru’s faction.
The meetings held in Mashonaland East and Manicaland provinces at the weekend were used as platforms to attack the faction led by Justice minister Emmerson Mnangagwa and also to threaten youths aligned to it with disciplinary action.
The national youth league congress is scheduled for August.
According to party insiders in the youth league who attended a meeting in Marondera, addressed by secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa and Mashonaland East chairperson Ray Kaukonde, threats were made against youths not backing Mujuru.
“The secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa, who was the guest of honour at youth provincial inter-district conference in Marondera, lambasted Mnangagwa as head of the only faction in Zanu PF, while he blatantly denied Mai Mujuru leads the other major faction arguing that she is a national leader and vice president of the country,” said a Zanu PF youth executive member.
“But what surprised us was why Mutasa, using a meeting with youths meant to discuss ZimAsset, would want to blast a colleague in the politburo. To the surprise of many he did not speak much on the conference theme which was ‘ZimAsset Growing the Economy for Youth Empowerment and Employment Creation’.”
Another youth league member said: “He chose to speak about factionalism and corruption.”
While Mutasa’s threats were thinly veiled, Kaukonde warned youths dabbling in factionalism would soon suffer the consequences as their lives would be plunged into poverty.
“Cde Kaukonde attacked youth leaders saying vari kushandiswa, uye vari kumhanya (they are being used and they are being rash),” said the youth.
“He went on to say vanoparara kusara vasina chinhu chekufambisa, vasina kana mapata pata (They will be impoverished to the extent that they will not even have slippers to wear. He added that rwendo rwepolitics runoda kufamba pamwechete (in politics, we need to work together).”
Meanwhile addressing a provincial youth inter-district conference at Biriri business centre in Chimanimani, politburo member and Chimanimani MP Munacho Mutezo threatened those backing Mnangagwa with suspension.
Mutezo is Energy and Power Development deputy minister and a close Mujuru ally.
“I do not know why people are talking about factions. There are no factions at all in Zanu PF. It is very clear that the leader of the party is President Mugabe followed by Mai Mujuru. After that we have the party chairman Cde (Simon Khaya) Moyo and Cde (Didymus) Mutasa then follows,” he said.
“These are the people leading Zanu PF. We do not want to hear other names besides the ones that I have mentioned. Those that will be aligned to other names will be suspended because they would be against the party constitution.”
He added: “The (Zanu PF) constitution is very clear on succession. If there are any changes (in leadership) they should be done at our forthcoming congress.”'