SEVERAL Zanu PF bigwigs, including Cabinet ministers, survived a nerve-racking and tension-filled process at
the weekend as the ruling party chose candidates for its divisive district co-ordinating committees (DCCs), the Daily News reports.
Well-placed Zanu PF insiders told the Daily News yesterday that meetings of the party’s provincial co-ordinating committees (PCCs) that were held in eight provinces to manage the process had also been marred by allegations of factionalism, tribalism and name-dropping.
Things apparently got so bad that some desperate senior party officials allegedly abused the names of President Emmerson Mnangagwa and Vice President Constantino Chiwenga in a bid to “force through the names of their preferred candidates”.
This came as the countdown to the DCC elections was also soiled by damaging allegations of dirty money changing hands — amid unproven claims that remnants of the party’s vanquished Generation 40 (G40) faction were burning the midnight oil to influence the outcome of the elections, in an alleged bid to engineer their group’s political comeback.
It also came amid reports that the demons of factionalism that gutted Zanu PF during the last few years in power of the late former president Robert Mugabe had returned to haunt the party with a vengeance.
Zanu PF national political commissar, Victor Matemadanda, confirmed the claims of name-dropping in a leaked audio recording during his address to the Mashonaland West PCC on Sunday.
“When building DCC structures, let us come up with structures which grow the party. Chinhu chandinokoshesa is Zanu PF. Zvenyu zvamunorangana zvemaline-up ngazviperere kuhope ikoko (What I hold dear is Zanu PF.
Your scheming around factional line-ups will not be tolerated). “We know there are many machinations, but tozvivhara (we will block that),” Matemadanda is heard saying in the audio clip.
“Some people are running around saying I am related to the president (Mnangagwa). That must stop. The president is for everyone. “Some people are using money to destroy the party. The use of money brings the party’s name into disrepute.
“There are also some who commit crimes and want to cover them up by publishing their pictures with the president to avoid arrest. “Give the president space to work, don’t abuse his name,” Matemadanda, who is also deputy Defence minister, added.
Former Cabinet minister and Chegutu East MP Webster Shamu and his wife Constance were among some of the candidates who were cleared for the DCC elections.
Other notable names that sailed through in the province included former Grain Marketing Board manager Tendai Chasauka, Magunje MP Cecil Kashiri and his Makonde counterpart Kindness Paradza. In Mnangagwa’s Midlands home province, tension was said to have been very high as party heavyweights blocked attempts to bar Gokwe-Mapfungautsi MP Tawanda Karikoga from participating in the DCC elections — on false allegations that he was resident in South Africa.
Provincial spokesperson Cornelius Mupereri told the Daily News yesterday that the province was also worried about the possibility of infiltration by remnants of the party’s vanquished G40 faction.
“We resolved at the PCC meeting that we must be vigilant because we noted the interest being expressed by G40 elements to find their way back into the party using money.
“We also resisted attempts by some people to block bona fide party cadres, including Karikoga, on false allegations that he was resident in South Africa. “We later realised that there were people who wanted to sneak in their own candidates on the technicality that at one point Karikoga was trapped in South Africa during the Covid-19 lockdown.
“Parliament has that record and so we made sure that he qualified,” Mupereri told the Daily News. Away from the furore, several MPs including Justice Mayor Wadyajena (Gokwe Nembudziya), Tawanda Karikoga (Gokwe
Mapfungautsi), Godern Chanda (Gokwe Sesame), Vongaishe Mupereri (former Mbizo MP), Omega Sibanda (Vungu) and former Chiwundura MP Brown Ndlovu qualified to contest in the DCCs.
Wadyajena is also set to become the DCC chairperson in the province as he stands unopposed. Others who qualified were Zanu PF youth league national executive member Erasmus Jaya and Mberengwa North MP Tafanana
Zhou. In Masvingo, deputy Finance minister Clemence Chiduwa told the Daily News that his CV had been accepted to contest for the Zaka DCC chairmanship.
“I am a candidate to become DCC chairperson. I am grateful to the party leadership for giving me the opportunity to contest,” Chiduwa said.
Another notable candidate who made it in Masvingo was Zaka Central MP Davison Svuure, while former Masvingo provincial chairperson Paradzai Chakona was disqualified.
In Mashonaland Central, Energy minister Zhemu Soda, former Muzarabani North MP Christopher Chitindi and Size Tapera (Muzarabani South) all qualified.
But Soda was accused of dropping the name of Mnangagwa to stand unopposed, an allegation he denied. Candidates who made it in Manicaland were not disclosed at the PCC meeting held at Marymount College, which was presided over by Education minister Cain Mathema.
In his address, Mathema warned against electoral malpractices, including vote buying — saying those who lose in the elections must accept defeat.
“I am here at the behest of the national commissar who deployed senior politburo members to address provincial structures on the objectives of DCCs.
“Among some of the reasons for creating DCCs is to foster internal democracy within the party and increase its support base. “Candidates must be of the highest integrity in line with pronouncements made by the president. DCC elections must be held in a transparent manner and all forms of corruption must be shunned.
“Elections must be held in line with the constitution and support the candidacy of President Mnangagwa in 2023.
“There is need to remain united and shun tribalism as Zimbabweans are one regardless of origin. We must be proud of our cultural diversity and those who perpetuate tribalism are Rhodesian elements,” Mathema said.
In Mashonaland East, Mutoko North MP Rambidzai Nyabote and his Mutoko East counterpart Richard Musiyiwa qualified for the elections, while former Marondera Central MP Lawrence Katsiru was said to have been
disqualified for allegedly not being a paid-up member.
The DCC structures elect Zanu PF’s 10 provincial executives — from where the party draws members of the central committee and the politburo.
The party’s DCCs were disbanded in 2012 after they were deemed to be fanning factionalism during Mnangagwa and former vice president Joice Mujuru’s battles to succeed Mugabe.
Then, Mnangagwa’s group had gained control of most regions, including Mujuru’s Mashonaland Central province — putting him in a strong position ahead of the party’s 2014 30congress. By Mugove Tafirenyika and Blessings Mashaya