THE ruling Zanu PF is holding a crunch politburo meeting in Harare today, amid high tension over the looming district co-ordinating committee (DCC) elections and other intra-party contestations.
Speaking to the Daily News yesterday, acting Zanu PF spokesperson Patrick Chinamasa confirmed that the politburo would be seized with “all outstanding issues” — including the pending DCCs.
This comes as the highly-divisive DCCs and primary elections to choose the party’s candidates for parliamentary and council by-elections have raised political temperatures in the former liberation movement.
It also comes as the countdown to DCC elections has been marred by allegations of dirty money changing hands — amid unproven claims that remnants of the party’s vanquished Generation 40 (G40) faction are burning the midnight oil to influence the outcome of the polls, in an alleged bid to engineer their political comeback.
“We are going to be seized with the preparations for the DCC elections. Regarding the issue of primary elections, I will have to check because I have not seen the full agenda yet,” Chinamasa told the Daily News.
But other Zanu PF insiders said the politburo meeting was taking place amid concerns that the party was slowly drifting towards the climate that prevailed in the last few years in power of the late former president Robert Mugabe — which was marked by debilitating factionalism and tribalism.
“The selection of candidates (for DCCs) has been divisive, hence the need to find a way of closing ranks among comrades.
“The politburo will also have to come up with the dates of the DCC elections. It will also have to look at ways to deal with complaints from disqualified candidates and ensure that the party won’t split,” one of the sources told the Daily News yesterday.
The road to the DCCs elections has been sullied by vicious infighting in which some bigwigs have been accused of fanning tribalism and factionalism.
Apart from the DCCs, Zanu PF has had to withhold results of its primary elections that were recently conducted in Harare, amid allegations of ballot fraud and massive rigging.
The primaries followed the recent recall of legislators and councillors by the MDC’s interim leader Thokozani Khupe — as she flexed her muscles in her current wars with Nelson Chamisa.
Last month, the former liberation movement was also forced to abort its primary election for Kwekwe Central, after fierce clashes erupted among its supporters.
So bad was the situation, that police had to fire teargas to disperse supporters of Kandros Mugabe and Energy Ncube — the two Zanu PF officials vying to fill the vacant seat which was won by the late Masango “Blackman” Matambanadzo in the 2018 elections.
Armed with machetes and iron bars, youths stormed the party’s Kwekwe district office where the election was being held and assaulted polling officers and voters, damaging vehicles in the process.
At the weekend, suspected Zanu PF youths, allegedly aligned to one of the Kwekwe Central candidates, appeared in court for allegedly blocking President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s motorcade — in apparent protest over the factional wars.
The youths — Tadzoka Nago, Stanely Zibako and Honest Diura — appeared before Kwekwe magistrate Samukelisiwe Gumbo, facing charges of contravening the Road Traffic Act, as well as assaulting a police officer, Clemence Mande.
They were each granted bail of $2 000 and will be back in court on December 9.
Amid the fierce tussling over the DCCs, Zanu PF insiders recently told the Daily News’s sister paper, the Daily News On Sunday, that some ambitious bigwigs had set their sights on the provincial chairperson elections.
In Mashonaland Central, current provincial chairperson Kazembe Kazembe was said to be under pressure from several party officials — including Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA) provincial chairperson Sam Parirenyatwa and telecommunications mogul James Makamba, who is back in the country after spending years in self-imposed exile in neighbouring South Africa.
So intense is the heat on Kazembe, who is also Home Affairs minister, that war veterans in the province have accused him of allegedly being sympathetic to G40 members.
In a letter leaked to the provincial leadership, including politburo members, the war veterans demanded a probe against Kazembe and other senior members who stand accused of working to bring back G40 elements.
Other Zanu PF sources also told the Daily News On Sunday that in Mashonaland West, the incumbent chairperson Ziyambi Ziyambi was also facing a stiff challenge — ahead of the elections to choose the new provincial executive.
Ziyambi, who is also the current Justice minister, is said to be facing competition from Provincial Affairs minister Mary Mliswa-Chikoka and youth league chairperson Vengai Musengi.
On the other hand, DCC elections in Masvingo had become a battle for supremacy between chairperson Ezra Chadzamira, former chairperson Paradzai Chakona and Bikita West MP Elias Musakwa.
In Mashonaland East, former deputy minister of Transport Michael Madanha is mounting a concerted bid to dethrone current chairperson Biggie Matiza.
In Harare province, Godwills Masimirembwa faces a serious challenge from perennial provincial chairperson aspirants Justice Zvandasara and Godwin Gomwe.
All this comes as Vice President Constantino Chiwenga has warned Zanu PF bigwigs against name-dropping and fuelling factionalism in the ruling party.
Addressing a special Zanu PF Mashonaland East provincial co-ordinating committee (PCC) meeting in Marondera recently — which was also attended by Mnangagwa — Chiwenga spoke strongly against factionalism, saying he and Mnangagwa were inseparable.
“Let us unite as we prepare for a resounding victory come the 2023 harmonised elections with our flagship, none other than the president of the Republic of Zimbabwe, Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa.
“He will be there and those who dream otherwise must realise that it was just but a dream after all,” he told the gathered Zanu PF bigwigs.
“There is no room for factionalism at any level in the party. We are a party that cannot be undermined by being defined in the confines of individuals.
“I repeat, no to factionalism in the party. Those engaging in factionalism and name dropping are on a selfish, lonely and self-destructive path.
“We are one and we shall remain one. Hapana kuti uyu ndinomuda, uyu handimudi. (You cannot choose which leader to follow or not to follow),” Chiwenga told the meeting further.