FORMER airforce deputy commander Henry Muchena has embarked on a whirlwind tour of provinces instructing Zanu PF district executives to launch door-to-door campaigns to ensure the party romps to victory in the forthcoming elections.
Report by Brian Chitemba
Muchena, who retired from the airforce to head the Zanu PF commissariat department, started his provincial visits at the weekend in Bulawayo where he held a tense inter-district meeting at Davies Hall.
Party insiders told the Zimbabwe Independent that Muchena ordered the officials to launch a vigorous campaign to secure a Zanu PF victory.
The former liberation movement has not won a seat in Bulawayo since 2000 when the MDC started participating in elections.
The party has performed dismally in previous elections in the city and other Matabeleland provinces due to underdevelopment and the 1980s massacres dubbed Gukurahundi, which left over 20 000 dead.
But the party believes it can turn this around in the next elections by enticing the electorate with the controversial indigenisation policy.
“Muchena did not mince his words about the need for Zanu PF to win the forthcoming elections at all costs, hence the launch of a door-to-door campaign in Bulawayo where the electorate has been rallying behind the MDC formations,” said a Zanu PF provincial executive member.
Zanu PF has been using former military and security sector personnel in its quest to stay in power.
Apart from Muchena, Zimbabwe Defence Forces commander Constantine Chiwenga and others have also reportedly been meeting war veterans in provinces urging them to support Mugabe and Zanu PF candidates in exchange for hefty allowances.
But sources said Muchena’s meeting was partly disrupted by district chairpersons who openly complained over the politburo’s imposition of former cabinet Minister Callistus Ndlovu as the provincial chairperson ahead of Killian Sibanda who was elected by the party members.
Sibanda is now deputy chairperson and the controversial appointment of Ndlovu was, according to Zanu PF, meant to strengthen the party ahead of make-or-break polls later this year.
Ndlovu was not at the meeting which was chaired by Sibanda.
Muchena told the districts executives to accept the politburo decision, sources said.
“Muchena was put under immense pressure because most of the provincial members are opposed to Ndlovu’s recent appointment. The district executives threatened not to vote for Ndlovu as a member of the central committee during the party’s elections next year,” said a party official.
After failing to defuse tensions at the tense meeting, Muchena promised to table a report over the discontent in Bulawayo to Zanu PF commissar Webster Shamu.