ZANU PF is headed for renewed turbulence ahead of central committee elections next month which are expected to be stormy at a time when factionalism bedevilling the party has exploded into the public domain in a major way with senior party officials openly clashing and exchanging crude insults.
Sources in Zanu PF said preparations are well underway as the provinces are strategically positioning their candidates for the central committee elections.
According to the Zanu PF constitution, the central committee is the principal organ of the party and consists of 245 members drawn from the party’s 10 provinces. It acts on behalf of congress when it is not in session and among other things implements all policies, resolutions, directives, decisions and programmes enunciated by congress.
The Youth League provides 17 members to the central committee with the Women’s League contributing the same number.
President Robert Mugabe appoints 10 members while 50 are drawn from the women’s quarter. The remaining members are elected from the provinces in a way and manner that each province shall have a proportionate quota or number, having regard to the census population figures in the province.
Chaotic scenes loom ahead of the elections as the same problems were experienced during last year’s provincial elections as well as the Youth League elections.
“There are bound to be problems because no concrete measures were taken after the chaotic provincial elections last year as well as the Youth League polls that were marred by allegations of vote-buying and intimidation, to prevent similar incidents,” said a Zanu PF politburo member.
“Unless and until the politburo provides solutions to such problems, internal elections in the party will be haunted by chaos.”
Two rival camps reportedly led by Vice-President Joice Mujuru and Justice minister Emmerson Mnangagwa are engaged in a bruising fight for the control of provincial executives, which would play a critical role in electing members of the presidium at the party’s elective congress come December, while determining Mugabe’s successor.
“Daggers are already drawn in the Midlands where Flora Buka is facing stiff competition from outgoing deputy secretary for youth, Edison Chakanyuka,” a senior Zanu PF official from Midlands said.
Other candidates from Midlands province include former Runde-Zvishavane constituency legislator Larry Mavima, Doctor Marigo, Obert Matshalaga and Greg Mataga to mention a few.
In an interview this week, Mavima said he is ready to contest for a central committee position.
“I can confirm that I will be contesting with whoever wants to challenge me in the central committee elections,” Mavima said. “I have served the party for the past 35 years and held several senior positions including being vice-chairperson of the Midlands province, so contesting for the central committee position will be a natural political progression.”
In Masvingo, Provincial Affairs minister Kudakwashe Bhasikiti will face Tafadzwa Shumba.
In an interview with the Zimbabwe Independent on Wednesday, Shumba said all interested candidates are on the ground campaigning.
“People who want to contest in the elections are busy on the ground and we are just waiting for announcements of the dates for the holding of the polls,” Shumba said.
Zanu PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo said dates for central committee elections have not yet been set.
“We do not have the dates as yet, but we are certain it should be this month,” Gumbo said.
“Besides the dates, there will be rules and guidelines as well, which will be set so that elections are held properly.”
A Zanu PF source from Masvingo province said the central committee elections are likely to be disputed again as factions are battling to make sure their candidates win.
“It is going to be another battle because the two factions want their members to be in the central committee,” the source said.
Masvingo has always been a Zanu PF hotbed for factionalism and occasionally intra-party violence erupts in the province during elections.
Last year, riot police was called in to quell the violence after controversial provincial elections turned nasty.
In May 2012, factionalism led to the eruption of violence after a round of disputed district co-ordinating committee elections in Nyajena, Masvingo South.
A source from Mashonaland Central province said the provincial leadership has not yet met to deliberate on who will be contesting in the elections.
“We are meeting this coming weekend and the issue of central committee elections is top of the agenda,” the source said.
In Manicaland tensions have already been building up since Zanu PF secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa said Monica Mutsvangwa had forfeited her position in the central committee by contesting in the provincial elections last year.
Mutasa’ argument was, however, dismissed by the party’s secretary for legal affairs, Emmerson Mnangagwa, who said Mutsvangwa was still a member of the central committee.
But sources in Manicaland said the province is yet to discuss candidates for the central committee elections.