ZANU PF succession fights have spilled into the party’s grassroots structures with violence erupting in several districts during the party’s restructuring exercise, which will culminate in provincial elections being held.
The party is currently holding elections at ward level.
Although Zanu PF’s commissariat department has not announced the date for provincial elections, party members have been told polls at grassroots level will pave way for elections at provincial level, hence the intense jockeying and clashes at ward and district level.
The clashes are pitting members of the faction led by Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa and the party’s young turks calling themselves G40. The G40 group reportedly has the support of First Lady Grace Mugabe.
The jockeying has resulted in violence in several provinces, including Manicaland, Masvingo, Midlands and Mashonaland Central. Controlling wards and districts is important for factions as it is a gateway to the party’s grassroots supporters.
In one case, violence broke out between members of the Mnangagwa faction and the G40 group in Chinyu, in Mwenezi, Masvingo, on Saturday after G40 members accused their rivals of vote-rigging.
Candidates linked to G40 polled four out of 33 wards, but their alleged leader, Priscila Moyo, who is the wife of Zimbabwe’s ambassador to South Africa, Isaac Moyo, insisted the polls were rigged.
Misunderstanding over the conduct of the elections degenerated into violence.
In Mashonaland West, Zanu PF’s national commissar Saviour Kasukuwere came face to face with violence, when G40 members accused their rivals of rigging district elections after they lost in 12 of Kadoma’s 13 wards.
Several party members were injured and rushed to Kadoma General Hospital following the skirmishes, which were also witnessed by provincial executive members, among them, Labour minister Prisca Mupfumira and Senate president Edna Madzongwe.
Last week party members in Manicaland, who are linked to Grace and G40, passed a vote-of-no-confidence on provincial women’s league boss Happiness Nyakuedzwa for allegedly demeaning First Lady when she addressed a rally in Chimanimani. Nyakuedzwa, however, teamed up with national women’s league member Monica Mutsvangwa and others, to reverse the decision on Tuesday.
This week Masvingo province booted out its provincial acting chairman, Paradzai Chakona at a provincial executive committee meeting over a number of allegations that included abuse of party resources.