FISSURES within Zanu PF continue to widen despite an impassioned plea by President Robert Mugabe for the party to unite as it prepares for a “do or die” battle on July 31.
REPORT BY OUR STAFF
Mugabe said at the launch of the Zanu PF 2013 election manifesto on Friday that his party would only be able to “bury its enemy” in the July 31 polls provided its members maintain cohesiveness.
But sources said although most officials were now agreeable to avoiding Bhora Musango (protest vote), the fallout from the recent primary elections marred by allegations of vote rigging and imposition of candidates continue to unravel in the party.
A politburo source said party officials from different factions in Zanu PF were using different foras to exchange unpleasantries over the manner in which their loyalists were unfairly treated during the primaries.
“There are even allegations that the faction loyal to Emmerson Mnangagwa [Defence minister] used soldiers to prop up its candidates during the primaries and this has caused further acrimony in the party. These allegations are however yet to be proved,” said the source.
The issue of the two former Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) senior staffers, Munyaradzi Kereke and Elias Musakwa, who were both nominated as Zanu PF candidates for the Bikita West constituency has further divided the party.
The official said although party spokesperson, Rugare Gumbo last week said Musakwa was the sole party candidate, the issue was far from being resolved.
The legal department headed by Mnangagwa and Justice minister, Patrick Chinamasa was allegedly summoned by the Presidium and instructed to write to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) to withdraw Kereke’s nomination.
But the Zanu PF official said the two allegedly explained that this was no longer legally possible as it was the party which had authorised both candidates to stand when the nomination court sat on June 28.
“What is therefore likely to happen is that the two remain official Zanu PF candidates, but the party will only provide financial backing to Musakwa,” said the politburo member.
Kereke could not be reached for comment yesterday, but last week a number of Bikita-based organisations placed an advertisement saying he was the true representative of the party having won the primaries by a wide margin as announced by the provincial elections directorate.
Kereke is allegedly linked to the Mnangagwa faction while Musakwa is said to be connected to a rival one loyal to Vice-President Joice Mujuru.
But both Mujuru and Mnangagwa have repeatedly distanced themselves from any factions in Zanu PF.
Contacted for comment yesterday, Gumbo said he could not talk as he was driving.
But on Friday he confirmed to our sister paper, the Zimbabwe Independent that the issue of irregularities in the primary elections divided the party and impacted negatively on the forthcoming elections.
He however said the party had agreed that the problems were now water under the bridge for the sake of forging a common ground.
SUCCESSION BATTLE RAGES ON
A Zanu PF official said fissures have also emerged over security sector reforms with some senior members clandestinely pushing for the reform of the partisan army, police and intelligence services.
“They fear that when Mugabe eventually leaves power, they will not be able to control these security chiefs. That is why they are supporting calls by other political parties for security sector reforms. This has angered the hardliners in the party who want to maintain the status quo,” said the official.
The official said battle lines have also been drawn in the event that Zanu PF wins the elections, with one faction preferring 89-year-old Mugabe to retire immediately after elections due to old age and another favouring that he clings on to power.
He said although the new constitution stipulated that the winning party provides a nominee in the event of the elected President retiring or being incapacitated; the faction with the majority MPs would carry the day as Parliament would sit as an electoral college.