POST-ELECTION violence in rural areas has sharply divided Zanu PF, amid reports that Vice-President Joice Mujuru told the politburo last week that senior party members were behind the assault and torture of villagers in Mashonaland provinces.
Sources told the Zimbabwe Independent this week that some Zanu PF bigwigs in the Matabeleland provinces, Masvingo, Manicaland, Mashonaland Central and West, and army commander Phillip Sibanda were against the violent presidential election run-off campaign reportedly endorsed by President Robert Mugabe and the Joint Operations Command (JOC).
The sources said at last Wednesdayâ€™s politburo meeting in the capital, the rift in Zanu PF came into the open when a fuming Mujuru, with the backing of her husband, retired army General Solomon Mujuru, said she had seen evidence of state-sanctioned violence.
The sources said the vice-president questioned why violence was rampant in the Mashonaland provinces, especially in Central where Zanu PF won 16 out of the 18 House of Assembly seats.
Mujuru reportedly told the politburo that Zanu PF supporters were some of the victims of the violence aimed at coercing the electorate to vote for President Robert Mugabe in the June 27 presidential election run-off against the MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai.
“Both the Mujurus told the politburo that they had seen evidence of brutality against villagers by state security agents, youth militia and war veterans,” one of the sources said. “They questioned why the violence was more concentrated in the Mashonaland provinces as compared to others.”
The vice-president, the source said, claimed that a politburo member was behind the assault and torture of villagers.
The source said it was clear in the politburo that Mujuru was accusing a strong figure in the party who is currently in charge of the countryâ€™s security through the Joint Operations Command (JOC).
Mugabeâ€™s chief election agent Emmerson Mnangagwa who is also secretary for legal affairs in the politburo, is now reportedly in charge of JOC.
The JOC is made up of service chiefs and is reportedly behind Mugabeâ€™s bloody campaign.
“Retired General Mujuru complained to the politburo that the violent campaign will turn the electorate against the party,” another source said. “He said the violence will not help the party to win the run-off.”
Mnangagwa and Mugabe, who were at the politburo meeting, did not respond to the Mujurusâ€™ complaints.
Efforts to get a comment from Zanu PFâ€™s secretary for information and publicity in the politburo, Nathan Shamuyarira, were in vain at the time of going to press. However, Mugabe and his party have since disassociated themselves from the violence and in turn accused the MDC of perpetrating acts of banditry.
On the other hand, the MDC claims that over 40 of its supporters have been killed, thousands displaced and hundreds of homesteads destroyed by state agents, Zanu PF militia and war veterans.
By Constantine Chimakure