ZANU PF officials believed to be aligned to Justice minister Emmerson Mnangagwa recently met in Masvingo to map the way forward in the aftermath of their defeat in the hotly disputed Zanu PF provincial elections.
Impeccable party sources told the Zimbabwe Independent that although the faction believed rigging and intimidation played a huge part in its defeat, there was also the feeling that the faction leader in Masvingo province Josaya Hungwe had failed to effectively lead the team and should therefore be relieved of his duties and be replaced by Shuvai Mahofa and Daniel Shumba.
“The members said Hungwe is no longer capable of carrying the faction forward and they decided to relieve him of his duties,” said a source, adding that “we agreed to let Mahofa and Shumba be our leaders for the time being because Hungwe was becoming alarmingly inefficient”.
Insiders also alleged Hungwe has been jumping between the two main factions.
They also accused him of delaying the disbursement of funds for campaigning during the provincial elections.
The Mnangagwa faction was handed a heavy defeat, winning just one province — Matabeleland North — where Richard Moyo prevailed. The faction is also said to be stepping up a restructuring programme in the other nine provinces.
“Restructuring will always begin in Masvingo because this has been Zanu PF’s political hotbed,” another source said.
Violence and riots over internal Zanu PF processes are a common feature in Masvingo. Armed riot police had to be called in to quell violent clashes between fighting Zanu PF factions amid vote rigging allegations after the controversial provincial elections in November.
In 2012, police in Masvingo had to deploy the riot squad to every Zanu PF meeting held in the town to keep warring factions from coming to blows after violence broke out in the controversial and now disbanded district co-ordinating committee (DCC) elections won by Mnangagwa loyalists.
After its defeat, the Mnangagwa faction threw its weight behind President Robert Mugabe arguing that he should be allowed to complete his new five-year term, giving them time to re-strategise.
Vice-President Joice Mujuru and Mnangagwa are reportedly battling to take control of provinces as the race to succeed the increasingly frail Mugabe, who turns 90 in February, intensifies.
The two factions are fighting to control provincial co-ordinating committees, which are crucial in determining who succeeds Mugabe as they play a pivotal role in choosing members of the presidium at congresses.
The next elective congress is in December.