SENIOR STAFF WRITER
TITANIC battles are looming in the impending Zanu PF district co-ordinating committee (DCC) elections, as Cabinet ministers and legislators join ordinary party members in the critical race for seats in the influential organs, the Daily News reports.
So intense is the jostling for places in the DCCs, that the ruling party has received a staggering 5 000 curriculum vitaes (CVs) — including from the high and mighty who are keen to participate in the polls.
This comes as preparations for the DCCs, which were banned during the last few years in power of the late former president Robert Mugabe, have been sullied by damaging allegations of bribery and ugly factional fights.
It also comes as political analysts have warned that the DCC elections could destabilise Zanu PF if they are not well handled.
Zanu PF insiders who spoke to the Daily News yesterday said most ministers and legislators without strong political bases wanted to land posts in the DCCs to improve their standings ahead of the 2023 national elections.
In addition, the sources said, having seats in the DCCs increased the Cabinet ministers and MPs’ chances of being elevated to the party’s other influential organs such as the central committee and politburo.
“It’s dog-eat-dog at the moment in the party. Although some MPs were appointed ministers, politically they are weak. They thus want to have positions in the DCCs as power bases.
“Some legislators also simply want to protect their territories and to also use these positions to deal with their rivals ahead of the 2023 primary elections.
“The party is currently vetting nearly 5 000 CVs from all provinces and the competition is very tough,” one of the insiders told the Daily News.
Zanu PF political commissar Victor Matemadanda confirmed to the Daily News that many big names were vying for positions in the DCCs.
“We have many CVs coming in. In Zanu PF, we have many people with big names who have also submitted their CVs,” he said.
On his part, Zanu PF chief whip Pupurai Togarepi also confirmed that many bigwigs were vying to be elected into the DCCs.
“MPs are members of the party and if they meet the set criteria there is nothing wrong in them seeking political office.
“Zanu PF affords equal opportunities for its members provided they meet the requirements of the set guidelines.
“I urge those members seeking election to remain honourable in whatever they do during the process,” Togarepi told the Daily News.
Insiders said in Mashonaland Central, Energy minister Zhemu Soda, businessman Tafadzwa Musarara and Mazowe North MP Campion Mugweni were among those that had thrown their hats in the ring for DCC positions.
In Masvingo, deputy Finance minister Clemence Chiduwa and former Zanu PF Masvingo youth chairperson Brian Munyoro were said to be some of the big names contesting in the polls.
“We have some big names who want to contest for DCC elections in our province, but for now I cannot comment more because the process of vetting is still under way.
“For Chiduwa, the people of Zaka demanded that he lead their district,” Zanu PF Masvingo political commissar Jevas Masosota confirmed to the Daily News.
In the Midlands, former Zifa vice president and MP for Vungu, Omega Sibanda, and ex-MP for Chiwundura Constituency, Brown Ndlovu, were among some of the big names touted for the Gweru district chairmanship.
Youthful Gokwe-Nembudziya MP, Justice Mayor Wadyajena, will become Gokwe North chairperson after emerging unchallenged.
In Kwekwe district, former Mbizo parliamentarian Vongai Mupereri will battle for the top position there with Moses Thandika and former DCC chairperson George Valentine Makombe.
In Mashonaland East, Maramba legislator Tichaona Karimazondo is also vying for a top DCC post, while in Mashonaland West former Cabinet minister Webster Shamu’s wife, Constance, and former journalist Kindness Paradza, are also said to be vying for posts in the DCCs.
This comes as fissures are widening in the ruling party, amid damaging allegations of “dirty money” exchanging hands to influence the outcome of the internal elections.
The names of people identified with the party’s vanquished Generation 40 (G40) faction have featured heavily in the fissures, which Zanu PF bigwigs say are attempts by the group to regain control of the party.
So deep are the suspicions in this regard, that the former liberation movement has now roped in its security department 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.
Meanwhile, respected political analyst Eldred Masunungure told the Daily News yesterday that the DCC polls would likely prove to be “very divisive”.
“It looks like the DCC structure is a critical cog of the party, because if one controls the DCCs he or she will be able to advance factional interests.
“Some bigwigs want to consolidate their positions. They want to protect their political bases. The DCC competition will destabilise the party if it is not handled well.
“The fact that they were banned before means that they are important. But they are also vulnerable to factionalists at the higher levels of power,” Masunungure said.
The DCC structures elect Zanu PF’s 10 provincial executives — from where the party and President Emmerson Mnangagwa draw members of the central committee and the politburo.
The 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.
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 Zanu PF leader.