ED assigns allies to on fire regions … as Zanu PF’s age-old factionalism burns hot
PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa has deployed Zanu PF bigwigs in three provinces that are being ravaged by ugly infighting ahead of the party’s District Co-ordinating Committee (DCC) elections.
Zanu PF national political commissar, Victor Matemadanda, pictured, confirmed to the Daily News yesterday that the former liberation movement was probing the chaos consuming some of its provinces, although he would not give finer details.
This comes as there are widening fissures in the ruling party, which was split in the middle during the last few years in power of the country’s late former president Robert Mugabe — who was toppled from power by a stunning and popular military coup in November 2017.
It also comes as Zanu PF recently suspended politburo members Cleveria Chizema and Tendai Savanhu, over allegations of destabilising the party.
Matemadanda told the Daily News yesterday that the party would not brook any turmoil in the impending DCC polls, as well as the forthcoming national by-elections — following allegations of rampant vote-buying and the imposition of candidates in some provinces.
“As long as the rules are not followed, we will overturn the results. We want leaders who come through an election where there was strict adherence to the rules.
“We will not accept leaders who come from someone’s pocket,” Matemadanda said without elaborating further.
However, party insiders told the Daily News yesterday that factionalism was especially rife in the three provinces of Mashonaland East, Mashonaland Central and the Midlands.
This had seen Mnangagwa deploying senior party officials, including former Cabinet minister Christopher Mushohwe, to lead probes in the troubled provinces.
Apart from the chaos that has hit the DCC polls, insiders also said Zanu PF was probing alleged vote-buying and the imposition of candidates in the Midlands and Mashonaland West provinces.
Mashonaland East provincial commissar, Herbert Shumbamhini, confirmed to the Daily News that they had nullified last week’s CV-collection exercise for those wishing to contest in DCC elections, due to rampant violations of party regulations.
He added that there had also been numerous complaints that Zanu PF provincial bigwigs in Mutoko had allegedly refused to accept applications of several potential candidates that they deemed to be a threat to their ambitions.
“There were complaints by some disgruntled potential candidates who felt that they had been unjustly blocked from submitting their CVs.
“So, we are going to be re-doing the exercise under the supervision of Comrade Mushohwe,” Shumbamhini said.
On his part, Mashonaland Central provincial chairperson Kazembe Kazembe also confirmed that there was serious mudslinging in the province — amid allegations that some MPs and other senior party members were working with suspected Generation 40 (G4O) kingpins to manipulate internal elections.
“Elections come and go and they should not divide the Zanu PF big family. Provincial, national consultative assembly and central committee members should not interfere or manipulate the DCC elections.
“People should be allowed to choose who they want. People should be allowed to submit their CVs freely. No one should be barred from submitting their CV at provincial level,” he told the Daily News.
“Allegations of connivance between MPs and G40 elements will be unearthed by the party’s security machinery.
“It must also be noted that every time there are elections there are always allegations and counter allegations. It’s typical of elections.
“However, all allegations merit proper treatment. We have thus dispatched a team to Muzarabani to investigate the allegations there. We urge people to contest for positions in harmony,” Kazembe said further.
Meanwhile, Zanu PF insiders also said at the centre of the brawling in Midlands was the race to fill the vacant Kwekwe Central seat following the death of MP Masango Matambanadzo in July.
In this light, there was an apparent fierce tussle between Energy Ncube — who is believed to be related to State Security minister Owen Ncube — and Kandros Mugabe, who reportedly enjoys the backing of Matemadanda and Local Government minister July Moyo.
Similar problems were being experienced in various districts in Mashonaland West, including Chegutu, Kadoma and Mhondoro.
Meanwhile, political analysts have told the Daily News that the current chaos being witnessed in the ruling party reflected growing factionalism in the former liberation movement.
University of Zimbabwe political science lecturer, Eldred Masunungure, said the ructions around the DCC elections mirrored the factionalism that was consuming Zanu PF at politburo and central committee levels.
“The fights are not a monopoly of the DCCs. It must be understood that this structure is a critical cog of the party as it serves as the bridge between the top leadership and the grassroots.
“Factionalism is thus most visible there because there is more freedom for political gladiation than in the top echelons of the party. So, factionalists use that structure to advance their cause,” Masunungure told the Daily News.
“The fact that they (DCCs) were banned before means that they are vulnerable to factionalists at the higher levels of power, and it will not be surprising if they are banned again.
“What is happening in the DCCs is a replication of what is obtaining in the politburo,” he added.
Another political analyst, Admire Mare, said factionalism was now part of the country’s politics.2
“The issue is that factionalism and favouritism are deeply ingrained in our national and party politics, hence these issues are likely to recur.
“Furthermore, we have a winner-takes-all kind of politics which creates unnecessary competition and backbiting to the detriment of the party and national politics,” he said.
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.
Mnangagwa’s faction had gained control of most provinces then, including Mujuru’s Mashonaland Central province — putting him in a strong position ahead of the Zanu PF congress in 2014.
On Wednesday, Mnangagwa said he was aware of the brawling surrounding the DCCs and went on to warn party members to remain disciplined.
“The re-introduction of the District Co-ordination Committees must serve as a mechanism to further consolidate our party’s mobilisation strategy at the grassroots level.
“I, therefore, exhort the leadership and the structures of the party to consolidate our democratic internal processes and culture.
“Undemocratic behaviour such as the imposition of candidates, vote buying and other electoral malpractices divide the party, they must not be tolerated at whatever level,” Mnangagwa said in his address to the politburo this week.
“Those who contest in elections must be prepared to accept the election outcome that is the democratic way the party knows.
“To be a good leader one must be prepared to be a good follower. These DCC elections and upcoming by-elections must, therefore, consolidate our party’s indisputable dominance and peaceful democratic culture in the country,” Mnangagwa added.
During Mugabe’s last few years in power, Mnangagwa was involved in a hammer and tongs war with the party’s G40 faction which had coalesced around the nonagenarian’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.
His fate was eventually sealed on November 6, 2017 when Mugabe fired his long-time lieutenant a few days after the then VP’s 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.