ZANU PF’s vicious internal fights pitting party bigwigs battling to succeed President Robert Mugabe, turning 91 next month, have become the country’s biggest threat to national security, the former liberation movement says in its Central Committee report.
The ruling party disclosed in the report presented at its sixth congress held in Harare last month that the ongoing internal fights were a bigger threat to national security than the challenges from opposition parties and non-governmental organisations which Zanu PF perceives to be regime-change agents.
In the last four months Zanu PF experienced its most brutal and public factional fight which claimed the scalps of former vice-president Joice Mujuru along with 15 ministers and other high-ranking party officials.
Mujuru was barred from contesting Central Committee elections and eventually fired by Mugabe along with former cabinet minister and politburo secretary for administration, Didymus Mutasa, and former party spokesperson Rugare Gumbo after being accused of plotting Mugabe’s ouster.
According to the report, “the internecine internal fights within the party appear to have taken centre stage and pose the greatest threat. This could be the party’s undoing of monumental proportions”.
“Factionalism is inflicting untold damage and injury on the cadres and should be vigorously fought and annihilated.
“The scourge once again reared its ugly head during the sixth Youth and Women’s Conferences.”
During the Women’s Conference in August, an angry Mugabe took to the podium to denounce Mutasa and other party hawks for shoddy preparations which saw many party supporters going hungry during the preceding Youth Conference.
Mugabe further accused them of vote-buying to secure influential party positions as the battle to succeed the veteran leader intensified ahead of the congress.
The report repeated the vote-buying claims that were levelled against party leaders from the Mujuru faction.
“Some leaders bought votes, coerced and manipulated delegates to vote candidates as they wished, a development which is anathema to the revolutionary ethos of the party,” reads the report.
Mujuru was subsequently replaced in the party and government by Emmerson Mnangagwa, her long-time rival in the succession war.
The party, however, remains wary of the MDCs and NGOs, saying that although the “MDCs have been paralysed to a very large extent thanks to their internal strife and rejection by the people (in the 2013 elections marred by rigging allegations), they continue to harbour the ever-elusive ambition of subverting the country by pursuing the regime change agenda”.
“Their Western backers are always willing to assist them in this project and one strategy they continue to employ is the iniquitous and ruinous economic embargo on the country. Although there was a partial removal of the sanctions on certain individuals and companies, the First Family is still on the sanctions list and the country at large still feels the embargo.”
The party said although the NGOs “appear to be down in the dumps following the July 31 (2013) plebiscite, the truth of the matter is that it is a stratagem. It is anticipated that they will certainly resurface with much vigour at the opportune time and ratchet up their efforts as they did when the year 2018 beckoned”.
The country’s next general elections are due in 2018.