INTERNAL and external problems, including raging factionalism in Zanu PF’s volatile regions such as Manicaland, Masvingo and the Midlands, have forced the deeply divided party to postpone its latest restructuring programme as it seeks to find ways of dousing the factional fires ahead of imminent provincial polls.
The infighting, fuelled informed by fierce power struggles within Zanu PF to succeed President Robert Mugabe, is raging seven months after the ouster of former vice-president Joice Mujuru and several other party bigwigs on allegations of plotting to overthrow Mugabe.
Manicaland province is in the eye of a storm amid reports of escalating factional fights which saw acting provincial chairperson Samuel Undenge being booted out for allegedly fanning factionalism, failure to hold regular meetings and holding kangaroo courts, among other charges.
So vicious is the wrangling in the party that the Zanu PF political commissar Saviour Kasukuwere said a team headed by the secretary for war veterans in the politburo Sydney Sekeramayi is to be dispatched this week to quell the factional fires in Manicaland.
Kasukuwere this week said: “Let them (those who belong to factions) know that the party has one centre of power and those elements would be dealt with before their actions spread like fire.”
The provincial infighting has cascaded to the Youth League which also passed a vote-of-no-confidence on the deputy
national secretary for the Youth League, Kudzi Chipanga.
In an interview with this paper on Wednesday, the Zanu PF national secretary for youth affairs, Pupurai Togarepi, said youths must not be used to fight factional wars.
“I have since told the Zanu PF members in Manicaland that the youths should not be sucked into the ongoing fights,” Togarepi said. “Whether those factional fights are real or imagined does not matter to us, but they should not use the youths. We will not condone anything that creates divisions among the youths. Those that have their own wars should fight them outside the Youth League.”
Togarepi has since ordered the Manicaland provincial Youth League to reverse the vote-of-no-confidence passed on three provincial members last weekend.
Sources also said the Manicaland Youth League members are seeking audience with First Lady Grace Mugabe over Zanu PF secretary for transport, Oppah Muchinguri, who is accused of engaging in a brutal fight with other members over control of the province.
Zanu PF, reeling from internal strife, saw a temporary alliance ahead of the December congress last year which fought from one corner to dislodge the faction led by Mujuru which had enjoyed control of party structures.
Grace joined the drama, in a marriage of convenience with a faction fronted by Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa, launching a vicious attack on Mujuru which left her politically decimated. Many of her loyalists have since been suspended or expelled from the party altogether.
Zanu PF is currently locked in vicious power struggles in nearly all its provinces which have been fuelled by the restructuring programme spearheaded by Kasukuwere.
The party’s national spokesperson Simon Khaya Moyo was not available for comment as his mobile phone went unanswered.
Zanu PF’s decision-making body, the politburo, was last week engaged in a renewed bid to halt resurgent factionalism and infighting in the provinces ahead of provincial polls. Kasukuwere this week had to distance himself from allegations of plotting to succeed Mugabe.