A politburo meeting held last week ordered fresh elections to fill central committee vacancies for Bulawayo after rejecting seven names forwarded by Isaac Dakamela, the provincial chairman.
Former Bulawayo mayor Abednico Nyathi, Dennis Ndlovu, Misheck Velaphi, Elphus Tshuma, former Zanu PF Bulawayo provincial commissar Raphael Baleni, Nelly Dupute and Violet Ncube were supposed to have joined the powerful central committee, but were rejected after the intervention of party chairman Simon Khaya Moyo.
This was the second time that the politburo has rejected names forwarded for the remaining central committee positions. The central committee is Zanu PF’s decision-making body and members are elected by district coordinating committees.
Sources attribute this to the tussle for power involving Nkomo, party chairman Simon Khaya Moyo and Mines and Mining Development minister Obert Mpofu, all of whom are fighting for influence in the region.
Sources said Dakamela had drafted the rejected list with politburo secretary for education Sikhanyiso Ndlovu and secretary for youth affairs Absolom Sikhosana, Nkomo’s close allies in the region.
Dakamela confirmed that the politburo ordered fresh elections to fill seven central committee vacancies to add to 14 people chosen in December last year.
“We were told after the politburo meeting that we should choose new members, not the original list that we had forwarded,” Dakamela told the Zimbabwe Independent this week. “The Bulawayo provincial coordinating committee will meet soon to choose new members.”
He said a circular sent to him stated that the names were thrown out because some of them were not veteran politicians.
Didymus Mutasa, Zanu PF secretary for administration, this week downplayed the issue when approached for comment on whether power struggles were behind the development.
“Some of the people on the list have been in the central committee before and it’s a matter of correcting one or two issues. It’s not a big issue,” he said.
Party sources said Moyo led the politburo in rejecting the names.
Zanu PF insiders said the rejected members were victims of a bitter power struggle, as senior leaders position themselves for ascendancy in the wider Zanu PF succession fight.
Moyo’s move in the politburo, sources said, was a way of hitting back at Nkomo, who recently played a part in barring members aligned to the party chairman from joining the central committee.
Nkomo opposed the election of Bulawayo war veterans’ leader Themba Ncube, former Bulawayo councillor Emmanuel Kanjoma, businessman Charles Chiponda, Anna Moyo, Sifelani Dube, Otilia Pasipanodya and Emily Hela.
After blocking their endorsement, Nkomo’s faction, led by Ndlovu then crafted its own list, which Moyo blocked last week.
The sources said Moyo, the former ambassador to South Africa, argued that Bulawayo province failed to follow procedure in coming up with the new names.
Moyo could not be reached for comment at the time of going to press.