Senior Zanu PF members told the Independent yesterday that an extra-ordinary politburo meeting on Wednesday was shocked after political commissar Webster Shamu revealed that grassroots structures were in a mess.
Sources who attended the meeting said Shamu told the politburo that Zanu PF was not ready for elections considering the troubled structures that were destroyed by factionalism. But President Robert Mugabe instructed Shamu to put the party structures in order as a matter of urgency.
“Zanu PF is powerful at the top but it doesn’t exist at grassroots level,” a senior politburo member said. “Shamu gave a damning report during the politburo meeting that the party was dead at cell and branch levels.”
The source said although Mugabe insisted that Zanu PF has to go for elections, Shamu suggested that 2011 could not be the most opportune time for elections.
“It seems the politburo doesn’t have a common view over elections,” one politburo member said. “Some members might not be open to challenge what Mugabe say, but we know that all Zanu PF senior officials don’t want elections.”
Mugabe has said he wants elections by June 2011 after a draft constitution referendum in March despite calls by civil society and MDC formations for implementation of democratic reforms first.
Zanu PF’s Women’s League and chiefs have endorsed Mugabe as their candidate for the elections.
The source said Zanu PF was sharply divided at grassroots level due to factionalism pitting Vice President Joice Mujuru and Defence minister Emmerson Mnangagwa who are sucked in a bitter succession battle.
Mugabe, the politburo member said, told the Wednesday meeting that party officials need to bury their differences and unite in the face of elections.
The politburo members said Mugabe reiterated that he was fed up with the inclusive government and wanted early elections, which he said he would win.
The president has already started mobilising for elections, observers note, after reactivating state security agents, army and the police who are intimidating political opponents in rural areas.
Mugabe has also roped in Big Brother star Munyaradzi Chidzonga and young musicians to woo youths to help him penetrate urban areas where MDC-T enjoys support. Zanu PF plans to use apostolic sect members to win the elections and the party is urging them to register as voters.
Recently, Mugabe pushed for civil servants’ loans to lure the underpaid workers to rally behind him in the polls.