ZANU PF’s decision-making body, the politburo, is locked in a renewed bid to quell resurgent factionalism and infighting fires burning at provinces ahead of primary polls and crucial general elections expected later this year.
The politburo was yesterday supposed to receive a report from the commissariat department headed by Webster Shamu, as well as the party’s election manifesto, before discussing strategy issues and guidelines for primaries.
But some issues were deferred due to a combination of “internal and external complications”, including renewed internal strife which has erupted in its volatile regions, including Bulawayo and Manicaland. The party is battling power struggles in nearly all its provinces.
Zanu PF is divided into two major factions, one said to be led by Vice-President Joice Mujuru and the other by Defence minister Emmerson Mnangagwa. As President Robert Mugabe gets increasingly old and frail, factionalism is worsening.
A clause in the new draft constitution which says if Mugabe retires after his re-election, is incapacitated or dies, he will be replaced by a Zanu PF candidate, is said to have added fuel to fire.
Politburo members yesterday spent much time battling over factional wrangles which have rocked Bulawayo and Manicaland provinces after national chairman Simon Khaya Moyo presented a report on the problems bedeviling Bulawayo.
Khaya Moyo led a politburo team which investigated divisions in Bulawayo where daggers were drawn out against provincial chairman Killian Sibanda, seen as close to politburo member Obert Mpofu. Khaya Moyo and Mpofu are fierce rivals as they are said to be eyeing the position of vice-president left vacant following the death of John Nkomo.
The politburo yesterday resolved to demote Sibanda to the vice-chairmanship, and seconded veteran nationalist Callistos Ndlovu — a divisive figure in Matabeleland due to his defection from Zanu to Zapu — to chairman, while the rest of the executive were retained.
Zanu PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo said the provincial executive will however be expanded in a move seen as an attempt to balance competing factional interests.
The politburo also mandated Khaya Moyo and his team to travel to Manicaland today to investigate bickering in the province.
Senior Zanu PF officials from the province, among them Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa, Energy deputy minister Hubert Nyanhongo, suspended provincial chairperson Mike Madiro, acting provincial chairperson Dorothy Mabika, Buhera North MP William Mutomba, war veterans’ leader Joseph Chinotimba and Zanu PF women’s league boss Oppah Muchinguri last week petitioned Mugabe to rein in the party’s secretary for administration, Didymus Mutasa, whom they accused of fanning divisions.
Mutasa is sympathetic to the Mujuru faction while those calling for his censure are in the Mnangagwa faction. Gumbo however yesterday downplayed Zanu PF infighting, referring to it as “challenges” or “non-antagonistic contradictions”.
Major factional clashes erupted last year in Zanu PF over District Co-ordinating Committees elections, leading to disbanding of the structures.