By Blessings Mashaya
FISSURES are widening in the ruling Zanu PF, amid damaging allegations of “dirty money” exchanging hands to influence the outcome of the party’s district co-ordinating committee (DCC) elections, the Daily News On Sunday can reveal.
At the centre of the former liberation movement’s latest infighting are allegations that remnants of the party’s vanquished Generation 40 (G40) faction are attempting to seize structures and use them in the looming DCC polls to regain control of the party.
This comes as the Zanu PF security department has been roped in to investigate these allegations and to deal with the growing ructions in general, which have sullied the party’s preparations for the pending DCC elections.
It also comes as Zanu PF’s internal wars are fast-approaching the levels that almost disembowelled the party in the last few years in office of the late former president Robert Mugabe — who was later ousted from power by a stunning and popular military coup in November 2017.
Yesterday, party insiders told the Daily News on Sunday that G40 remnants wanted to influence the outcome of the DCC elections and were thus allegedly sponsoring candidates, mainly in the three Mashonaland provinces.
At the height of the party’s vicious wars between the G40 and a faction that was backing President Emmerson Mnangagwa when he was still Mugabe’s deputy, the three provinces were under the control of the new Zanu PF leader’s foes.
According to the party insiders, the three provinces are once again being primed to be the springboard for challenging Mnangagwa.
“Remnants of the G40 want to get control of the three provinces as a launch pad to take over from Mnangagwa.
“A lot of money is exchanging hands under the table. There is a need for thorough vetting to fish out the malcontents.
“The good thing is that we unravelled the plot before we went to the elections,” one of the party insiders told the Daily News On Sunday yesterday.
Mnangagwa, the insiders added, was apparently aware of all the alleged machinations and had instructed the Zanu PF commissariat and security departments to vigilantly vet would-be candidates.
Zanu PF secretary for security in the party’s politburo, Lovemore Matuke, confirmed to the Daily News On Sunday yesterday that the party was investigating myriad allegations — including those relating to money exchanging hands, the imposition of candidates and factionalism.
“We received reports of people who are circulating dirty money from G40. We are investigating because we believe in tangible evidence.
“We are going to deal with the issue when we vet papers from Mashonaland Central and other provinces.
“We are going to look at all these accusations because people can do anything,” Matuke told the Daily News On Sunday.
“We want to clean the party. By the time of the (DCC) elections, we will have a clean list of candidates.
“We are going to flush out all G40 elements, but we are also guarding against enmity between some members who are labelling each other G40. We are currently seized with the matter.” Matuke added.
This comes as there is a resurgency of factional and tribal wars in the ruling party, which split Zanu PF in the middle in Mugabe’s last few years in power.
Recently, Zanu PF had to rope in its security department to deal with the worsening ructions which are threatening the elections to choose members of its re-introduced DCCs.
In addition, Mnangagwa recently deployed Zanu PF bigwigs in provinces that are being ravaged by the ugly infighting ahead of the DCC elections.
Matuke recently told the Daily News On Sunday’s sister publication, the Daily News, that his department had been called in to restore order in the brawling party.
“There are some G40 elements who are trying to come back, but we are strictly vetting the CVs. We are going to look at each CV as we want to deal with these elements.
“We are receiving reports from provinces on this issue. As the party security, we are going to do our work diligently and weed out such elements. There are some people who were fighting the current leadership who want to use these elections to come back into the structures and destabilise the party,” Matuke said then.
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 congress.
Last month, liberation stalwart and former Cabinet minister Tshinga Dube highlighted the growing factionalism in Zanu PF when he warned that it would be futile for South Africa President Cyril Ramaphosa and his African National Congress (ANC) to hope to end Zimbabwe’s long-standing political and economic crisis without winning support from the party’s brawling factions.
“It all starts with the leaders in Zanu PF agreeing that we need dialogue and that South Africa has a critical role to play.
“They need to find common ground on that to make the ANC’s work easier. We can blame this group or that group, but I don’t want to do that because what is important, for the sake of progress, is that they must find each other.
“It is not difficult for the leaders to find each other because they have been working together for quite a long time,” the fearless Dube told the Daily News On Sunday.
“I don’t think it is impossible for them (Zanu PF factions) to do that for the good of the country and our people. That is what leadership is all about. If they do not agree and continue like that, then it will be difficult for anyone who wants to help, including the ANC,” he added.
The widening fissures in Zanu PF appear to have taken the same route of the last few years in power of Mugabe.
Then, Mnangagwa was involved in a hammer and tongs war with the G40 faction — which had coalesced around Mugabe’s erratic wife Grace.
The vicious brawling took a nasty turn when Mnangagwa was allegedly poisoned by his rivals during one of Mugabe’s highly-divisive youth interface rallies in Gwanda in 2017.
The then VP’s fate was eventually sealed on November 6, 2017 when Mugabe fired his long-time lieutenant a few days after his allies had booed the irascible Grace during a tense rally at White City Stadium in Bulawayo.
However, tables were dramatically turned on Mugabe when the military rolled in their tanks on November 15 of that year and deposed the long-ruling leader from power — which saw a number of alleged G40 kingpins fleeing into self-imposed exile soon afterwards.
But despite Mnangagwa’s ascendancy to power, some ambitious bigwigs in the former liberation movement continue to stand accused of plotting to unseat the new Zanu PF leader.