HARARE – Zanu PF has described as rebels, factional leaders who are battling to succeed President Robert Mugabe saying their actions would only see them falling by the wayside.
This comes at a time when the faction-riddled party is facing acute divisions as the race to succeed Mugabe has intensified ahead of an elective congress next year.
So intense are divisions that the party had to postpone provincial elections in eight of the country’s provinces because of alleged vote-rigging and intimidation.
Election results for Midlands province were only announced yesterday where Jason Machaya amassed 13 883 votes against businessman Larry Mavhima who polled 13 380 votes.
Mavhima is a known confidante of Justice Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa, who reportedly leads a faction of Zanu PF aiming to replace Mugabe.
The other faction is reportedly led by Vice President Joice Mujuru.
Results for elections held in the Manicaland province a fortnight ago were still not available at the time of going to print.
In an interview with the Daily News on Sunday yesterday, party spokesperson Rugare Gumbo warned members against challenging the party leadership.
“We have some ambitious people who want to challenge party leadership but what is important is what is coming out of the elections,” Gumbo said.
He added that; “We only have one leader President Mugabe followed by vice president Mujuru and Simon Khaya Moyo, the party chairperson. As far as we are concerned, anyone outside that line-up is a rebel trying to create chaos.”
Faction leaders in the party have been trying to manipulate provincial elections as they play a pivotal role in choosing members of the presidium.
An endorsement for any of the presidium positions which includes the president, first and second vice president and national chairperson requires six of 10 provinces.
Insiders say Mugabe, 89, will likely be elected as first secretary but will not contest in the 2018 election, and whoever will be first vice president would take over the reins.
Mnangagwa regarded as Mugabe’s blue-eyed boy is also said to be using all means necessary to champion his campaign.
Gumbo who admitted that there was internal struggle within the 50-year-old movement however said the rebels could be exercising their democratic right but insisted they must do it without undermining the party.
“This is an internal democratic struggle but rest assured the reactionary will fall by the wayside,” Gumbo said.