THE long-running Zanu PF Bulawayo intra-party feud has turned nasty after the newly appointed provincial coordinator Callistus Ndlovu escaped death in an accident he claims was engineered by his political rivals.
Ndlovu, a Zanu PF central committee member, replaced former Information and Publicity minister Sikhanyiso Ndlovu as the Bulawayo provincial coordinator last month in what party insiders say was part of the fierce factionalism that is splitting the former ruling party.
The former minister was ousted by a faction linked to Ndlovu following allegations that he failed to set up vibrant structures in the city, which has become an MDC-T stronghold in the last decade.
Sources said Callistus Ndlovu is aligned to party hardliners such as Matabeleland South governor Angeline Masuku, politburo members Joshua Malinga and Tshinga Dube while Sikhanyiso Ndlovu is backed by politburo member Eunice Sandi-Moyo as well as beleaguered provincial chairman Isaac Dakamela.
Ndlovu, a NetOne board chairman, this week confirmed the accident which happened on December 24 on the outskirts of Bulawayo, saying he suspected foul play although he would not finger his political rivals.
He escaped without injuries.
“I suspect foul play although I cannot say who it is but some people must have unlocked the nuts on my hind wheel. However, there was no serious accident, so I have not reported the matter to the police,” he said.
“Some people think my car was tampered with by our colleagues in the party but I cannot point at anyone, but definitely there was a case of foul play.”
Sources said Ndlovu visited a social club in the city centre where he parked his vehicle for three hours and a Zanu PF official known to be at loggerheads with Ndlovu was also seen at the club.
“We suspect that the party official who got in the club briefly was somehow linked with tampering with Ndlovu’s vehicle because he is also linked to the fighting factions within the party,” said a Zanu PF insider.
Ndlovu, a former industry and technology minister, is resurrecting his career in politics after falling from grace in 1989 following his implication in the Willowgate motor scandal.
The former ruling party has been rocked by serious divisions stemming from unilateral suspensions of members and defiance of party directives.
Last month, Zanu PF national commissar and Minister of Media, Information and Publicity Webster Shamu stepped in to try and bring the warring factions together. Shamu held various meetings in a bid to bring sanity to the province where Zanu PF has never won a single parliamentary seat in the past 10 years.
Zanu PF continues losing support in Bulawayo where the party failed to win a seat in the March 2008 elections. The country’s second largest city as well as Matabeleland North and South have become MDC strongholds with both formations of the party enjoying strong support in the region.