FORMER Midlands governor Cephas Msipa this week took a swipe at top Zanu PF officials whom he accused of fuelling factionalism, saying this would destroy the party if the former liberation movement did not effectively and decisively deal with it.
In an exclusive interview with the Zimbabwe Independent on Tuesday in Zvimba after the burial of President Robert Mugabe’s sister, Bridget, Msipa said the current crop of leaders in Zanu PF did not want to listen to advice from senior members.
“At times I ask myself: is it worth it to continue giving advice to these young men and women who are supposed to take the party forward because the meetings are becoming nasty every time? Divisions are destroying the party,” said Msipa.
“I have tried to show them the way and make them follow the people’s wishes, but they want to impose even the executive members of the provincial leadership without the people’s mandate.
“I thought I would leave this party intact especially in Midlands, but I am getting tired of these meetings that discuss petty issues.”
An emotional Msipa said he felt dejected about what transpired at the provincial co-ordinating committee meeting in Midlands on Sunday, which degenerated into an orgy of verbal insults between members aligned to the two main factions in Zanu PF, reportedly led by Justice minister Emmerson Mnangagwa and Vice-President Joice Mujuru.
Msipa and party spokesperson Rugare Gumbo stormed out of the meeting after failing to resolve contentious faction-related issues, which have led to newly-elected chairperson Jason Machaya losing control of the province. Msipa was the first to storm out of the meeting.
Zanu PF is struggling to contain the widening rifts emanating from the party’s chaotic internal provincial elections held end of last year, as the two factions battled to control the provinces in a race to succeed President Robert Mugabe.
The Mujuru and Mnangagwa camps openly clashed in Gweru over the election of the provincial executive members that saw a supposed Mujuru ally, Machaya, winning.
The meeting was the first in the province since the election of Machaya, who beat Mnangagwa’s close ally Larry Mavima for the chairmanship.
Gumbo, however, said the party is yet to resolve the problems in the Midlands because the provincial members are not following the commissar’s directives.
“The problem in the Midlands is that members do not want to follow directives of the commissar and they also don’t want to include the people chosen during the provincial elections to be part of their executive,” Gumbo said.
Factional fissures widened following the controversial victory of chairpersons aligned to Mujuru in nine of the 10 provinces, amid allegations of rigging, intimidation, ballot stuffing, use of an out-dated voters’ roll, disenfranchisement of voters and abuse of party resources.
Party insiders recently told the Independent the chairpersons in Masvingo, Midlands and Mashonaland Central were finding the going tough as most of the members who constitute the PCCs are said to be loyal to the Mnangagwa faction.
“In the Midlands province, 90% of the PCC members are loyal to Mnangagwa and the only prominent odd one out is the chairperson (Machaya); so they are giving him hell to the extent that he is failing to convene meetings,” said the source.