THE Zanu PF faction led by Vice-President Joice Mujuru whose current ascendancy is riding on the party’s restructuring exercise was last week thwarted in Masvingo where it failed to remove the executive aligned to Defence minister Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Report by Elias Mambo
However, the Mujuru faction sought to establish a firm grip on structures in the province by declaring its regional stalwart, Dzikamai Mavhaire, “godfather” of the province.
By installing Mavhaire, a politburo member, as the godfather of Masvingo ahead of former governor Josaya Hungwe, sources say “the probe team had to come up with a different strategy of propping up the Mujuru faction after failing to dislodge the Lovemore Matuke-led executive”.
Hungwe has been involved in a fight with Mavhaire — who is reportedly aligned to Mujuru’s faction — for control of the vast province. The politburo-appointed probe team has come under fire for fanning smouldering factionalism.
The team, comprising party national chairperson Simon Khaya Moyo, national commissar Webster Shamu, national secretary for security Sydney Sekeramayi and secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa, was appointed to investigate the latest incidents of infighting and compile a report on the state of the party ahead of crucial elections later this year.
It is however accused of trying to position Mujuru to take over from President Robert Mugabe when he vacates office.
Sources close to the infighting revealed the Khaya Moyo-led team descended on Masvingo with the aim of restructuring the party leadership after reports of internal factional fighting threatening the party ahead of national polls.
“The probe team had a line-up of the proposed Masvingo executive which we rejected because it was aligned to the Mujuru faction,” said a senior Zanu PF member in Masvingo.
“There were plans to install Mwenezi East legislator Kudakwashe Bhasikiti and Tourism minister Walter Mzembi to the provincial chairmanship and vice-chairmanship respectively,” said the source.
The sources also said the probe team wanted to catapult Brigadier Gibson Mashingaidze and Nelson Mawema, said to be in the Mujuru faction, into the provincial executive.
Last week this paper disclosed the probe team was under the spotlight after reports emerged it is purging Mnangagwa’s allies in the provinces and replacing them with those aligned to Mujuru, in the process laying the ground for her to take over from Mugabe.
A fortnight ago the Masvingo provincial co-ordinating committee held its meeting where members agreed to resist any changes proposed by the probe team.
Last year Zanu PF was plunged into nationwide infighting following its controversial District Co-ordinating Committee (DCC) polls characterised by intimidation, voting irregularities and ballot rigging.
The DCC elections became a theatre for internal political power struggles as the main factions battled to seize control of the party and position themselves to produce a successor to Mugabe (89), now reeling from old age and reported ill-health.
Mugabe feared succession-fuelled infighting would disrupt his election campaign, hence the dissolution of the DCCs which had resulted in defeat across provinces for Mujuru’s faction at the hands of Mnangagwa loyalists.
Sources also say the current outbreak of squabbling in the party still poses a serious threat to Mugabe’s campaign.