AS Zanu PF intensifies its campaign to win the anticipated presidential election run-off, the party has embarked on a restructuring exercise to replace its provincial leadership with war veterans.
The ex-combatants would be expected to mastermind the partyâ€™s violent campaign in rural areas.
Sources in Zanu PF said the restructuring of the provincial executives was meant to purge leaders accused of failing to effectively campaign for President Robert Mugabe – widely believed to have lost the March 29 presidential election to the MDCâ€™s Morgan Tsvangirai.
Mugabe and Tsvangirai, according to independent analysts, failed to garner the mandatory 50% plus votes to assume office, prompting a run-off.
The sources said the new provincial leadership headed by war veterans would work hand in glove with traditional chiefs to co-ordinate Mugabeâ€™s campaign.
Soldiers, the source said, had since been seconded to some of the countryâ€™s 52 districts and would supervise the Zanu PF campaign strategy.
Provinces targeted for restructuring by Zanu PF, the sources said, were Harare, Bulawayo, Matabeleland North and South, Masvingo, Manicaland and Mashonaland West.
â€œThe party agrees that Bulawayo and Harare are beyond redemption,â€ one of the sources said.
â€œThere is a general consensus that provinces like Masvingo, Manicaland, Matabeleland North and South can be redeemed, while the party is worried with the inroads and support the opposition MDC gained in Mashonaland West where Mugabe comes from.â€
As part of the ruling party strategy, this week war veterans stormed the Zanu PF headquarters in Gwanda, Matabeleland South, and demanded a meeting with provincial chairman Rido Mpofu.
They reportedly accused Mpofu of letting Mugabe down by failing to campaign for him before last monthâ€™s historic harmonised elections.
After failing to get a satisfactory response, the war veterans allegedly manhandled Mpofu resulting in the police being called to the headquarters to quell the violence.
Mpofu this week declined to comment on the fracas insisting that it was an â€œin-houseâ€ issue.
â€œThe issue was in-house, it was not an attack, there was nothing serious that happened,â€ Mpofu said.
â€œWe had a discussion with the war veterans and that is how we operate in the party and if the police intervened maybe they had reasons for doing so.â€
Police in Gwanda confirmed the incident. The war veterans allegedly said Mpofu was no longer the provincial leader and announced that provincial war veteran leader, Leonard Mathuthu, was now in charge of the province.
By Loughty Dube