THE ghost of Zanu PF’s chaotic provincial elections held at the end of last year has come back to haunt the party amid reports Masvingo provincial members aligned to Justice minister Emmerson Mnangagwa are demanding a rerun three months after the polls.
Masvingo has joined disgruntled Midlands provincial members in Mnangagwa’s faction who maintain their province will remain unmanageable until irregularities that marred the polls are resolved.
Last week, Zanu PF national political commissar Webster Shamu failed to rein in dissenting voices in Masvingo that told him to dissolve the current provincial executive.
Sources who attended the meeting in Masvingo on Saturday said Shamu was told to go back to the politburo and report that the province was demanding a rerun.
“What we want is the provincial executive elections in Masvingo to be undertaken as per circular and not for the chairperson to handpick his choice of members,” said a senior Zanu PF official aligned to the Mnangagwa faction.
Current chairperson Killian Gwanetsa, who is aligned to Vice-President Joice Mujuru, handpicked executive members from his faction.
The meeting was cut short after former governor and politburo member Josaya Hungwe openly told Shamu, who had ordered those at the meeting to co-operate with the current provincial executive, that what he was saying was contrary to the order given by the politburo.
“What you are saying is in direct contrast to what the politburo ordered you to do. I was there when you were being given that order,” Hungwe is reported to have said in the meeting.
According to politburo sources, Shamu was tasked to ensure that those members whose names were originally in the provincial basket should be elected into the provincial executive, which meant dissolving the current executive.
Hungwe, according to the sources, said Shamu was simply ordered to ask Gwanetsa to follow the politburo directive.
Party insiders recently told the Zimbabwe Independent that chairpersons in Masvingo, Midlands and Mashonaland Central are finding the going tough as most of the members who constitute the Provincial Co-ordinating Committees (PCCs) are said to be aligned to Mnangagwa.
Zanu PF is struggling to contain rifts emanating from the party’s chaotic provincial elections, which saw nine provincial chairpersons aligned to Mujuru win in the 10 provinces.
The Zanu PF provincial chairpersons are facing stiff resistance from their executives and PCCs in some provinces, whose majority is said to be loyal to Mnangagwa.
Contacted for comment, Zanu PF national spokesperson Rugare Gumbo said the problems bedevilling the provinces are centred on the selection criteria of members of the executives.
“The problem is that some members who are not supposed to be part of the executive are bulldozing their way and forcing themselves into the executive, which should not be the case,” Gumbo said.
“Politburo deliberated on the issue and ordered that the election guidelines be followed to the letter, but unfortunately members who are opposing the rules snubbed the Midlands meeting last Friday.”
Mujuru and Mnangagwa are reportedly battling to control provinces as the race to succeed the increasingly frail Mugabe, who turned 90 last month, intensifies. The provincial executives are crucial in the fight to succeed Mugabe as the structures will play a pivotal role in choosing members of the presidium at an elective congress in December.