By A Correspondent- The ZANU PF restructuring exercise has exposed deep-rooted factionalism as well as infighting fuelled by jostling for positions ahead of the party’s provincial elections.
The party is set to conduct provincial elections next month to elect provincial executives.
The fights have divided party members, with some coalescing around President Emmerson Mnangagwa while others are allegedly backing his deputy, Constantino Chiwenga.
Party structures held meetings across provinces at the weekend where they endorsed Mnangagwa as the party’s candidate for the 2023 general elections.
Mnangagwa is today set to preside over a politburo meeting following the weekend inter-district and provincial co-ordinating committee meetings.
A petition by about 6 000 party members from Mashonaland East alleged serious factional fights and unscrupulous behaviour by party members.
It painted a picture of a party in shambles.
The petition, addressed to acting provincial chairperson Michael Madanha, comes as the ruling party embark on elections tomorrow to choose district executive members.
“This petition is against the compilation of factional cell membership registers and the imposition of executive committees at cell, branch and district levels in Murewa South constituency,” the petition read in part.
“This is being done contrary to instructions from the (acting) national political commissar (Patrick Chinamasa) to restructure the party in a transparent and democratic manner, starting with compilation of new cell membership registers.”
Another fight in Murewa South is over the vacant parliamentary seat following the death of former Transport minister Joel Biggie Matiza. The jostling for the position has caused tension in the district.
“Cell registers inclusive of the cell executive committees were compiled secretly along factional lines by a few individuals who were appointed as district executive committee members during the run up to the 2018 elections.
“Most of the elected district executive committee members were removed and replaced by campaign committee members of the late MP comrade JB Matiza,” the petition read in part.
“These are the de facto district executive committees implementing shenanigans to exclude from cell registers and executive committees all those party members they perceive as rivals.”
Madanha told a provincial co-ordinating committee (PCC) meeting in Marondera on Saturday that there was need for party members to follow stipulated guidelines during the ongoing restructuring exercise.
In Manicaland, politburo member Simbarashe Mumbengegwi confirmed divisions in the province and in an attempt to douse the fires, warned members against unethical conduct.
“We don’t need mudslinging in the party. If we are in elections this does not mean that we are in a war. We have realised some people have started campaigns against the politburo decision not to campaign and that is gross indiscipline,” he said.
“Some are using social media to attack each other and that is not good. Let’s have discipline in the party and that is critical.”
Three candidates are vying for the provincial chairmanship.
The incumbent, Mike Madiro is facing a challenge from Makoni district co-ordination committee chairperson Albert Nyakuedzwa and Chipinge South MP Enock Porusingazi.
Nyanga North MP Chido Sanyatwe is favourite to land the women’s league top job, but is facing challenge from the incumbent Happiness Nyakuedzwa.
Mnangagwa’s home province, Midlands, has also witnessed fierce battles involving a camp linked to State Security minister Owen Ncube and incumbent provincial chairman Daniel Mackenzie-Ncube.
The fight has reportedly turned tribal with a camp linked to Ncube describing Mackenzie-Ncube and his backers as “dissidents” and Zapu, invoking memories of the infamous 1980s Gukurahundi massacres that resulted in the death of over 20 000 people in the region.
“A lot is happening on the ground to ensure the chairman (Mackenzie-Ncube) pulls out of the race, but that has failed. The reality now is the two will face each other in the polls and the chairman will likely win it despite all attempts by the other camp,” a source said.
Adverts promoting Ncube have been circulating on social media, describing him as the man behind massive infrastructural development, including construction of base stations and roads in the province.
There are also allegations that machete gangs have resurfaced in the province to prop up the State security minister.
In Masvingo, a camp closely linked to the provincial chairperson Ezra Chadzamira has sensationally claimed that Chiwenga was behind a plot to arrest the Provincial Affairs minister to ensure that he does not retain the party provincial chairperson position.
There were claims in Mashonaland Central that there was an attempt on the life of aspiring provincial chairperson Lazarus Dokora.
Dokora is facing off against Home Affairs minister Kazembe Kazembe for the chairmanship amid accusations and counter accusations of vote-buying.