DRAMATIC scenes rocked Zanu PF’s 11-hour politburo meeting last Friday as secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa fiercely clashed with Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa and Women’s League chief Oppah Muchinguri in the presence of President Robert Mugabe as internal strife reaches fever pitch.
Report by Elias Mambo
The bigwigs were locked in combat over the Manicaland infighting which was discussed at the tense politburo meeting for five hours — from 8pm to 1:30am — during which an irate Mutasa reportedly accused Chinamasa and Muchinguri of working in cahoots with Defence minister Emmerson Mnangagwa in the race to succeed Mugabe.
Mutasa is believed to be aligned to Vice-President Joice Mujuru’s faction and has been pushing for the removal of former Zanu PF Manicaland chairperson Mike Madiro, who is said to be in Mnangagwa’s camp.
Mutasa accused senior Zanu PF officials from Manicaland, who have been decampaigning him, of belonging to Mnangagwa’s faction and fuelling divisions in Manicaland, a politburo insider said.
It is said Mutasa’s accusations did not go down well with Chinamasa and Muchinguri who hit back, taking turns to attack him.
Chinamasa, Muchinguri and Mutasa are all from Manicaland where infighting has erupted over unilateral changes to the provincial executive.
“Chinamasa and Muchinguri refuted accusations that they belonged to Mnangagwa’s faction, claiming Mutasa was bent on tarnishing their image,” said the politburo source.
There was a heated verbal exchange and finger pointing among the three rivals, politburo sources said, until Mugabe intervened by ordering party national chairperson Simon Khaya Moyo to proceed with his investigation report.
The clash had disrupted Moyo’s presentation on his probe team’s findings on Manicaland.
“The president did not say anything when the verbal exchange was taking place but he only ordered Moyo to proceed with his presentation after the showdown,” a source said. “Interestingly, Mujuru and Mnangagwa also did not react when the senior Manicaland party officials were engaged in the war of words.”
In line with a report presented to the party’s decision-making body before Zanu PF’s annual conference in December last year showing intensifying infighting, the politburo last Friday wanted to bring to an end the wrangling ahead of crucial general elections. Zanu PF lost the 2008 polls due to factionalism and squabbling.