Sources told The Standard that the battle for power had turned nasty, with members of a faction led by Transport, Communication and Infrastructural Development minister, Nicholas Goche and its rivals loyal to vice- President Joice Mujuru, digging up dirt against each other.
The sources said Goche, Youth Development, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment minister, Saviour Kasukuwere and provincial chairman, Dickson Mafiosi, a week ago went to Mugabe behind the back of Mujuru, provincial governor Martin Dinha, politburo members Lazarus Dokora and Alice Chimbudzi, as well as other central committee members.
They handed over a state-of-the-art planter and other farming equipment sourced from Brazil by the province as a belated 88th birthday gift.
An official who was present during the handover, which took place after hours at the State House, said Mugabe was very excited to receive the gifts and was all praises for Goche, Kasukuwere, Mafiosi and others present. “It became apparent that the donation was meant to curry favours because soon after the handover, they requested for a meeting with the President, where the likes of Mujuru and Dinha were attacked left, right and centre,” said the official.
He said Mugabe was told that Dinha, as provincial governor was allegedly selling land and was supported MDC-T. Mujuru was also attacked for allegedly causing divisions during the District Coordinating Committee elections. “It was suggested that Mafiosi, as the provincial chairman, should replace Dinha as the governor,” said the official.
Provincial youth chairman, Godfrey Tsenengamu, was surprised that such a presentation of gifts had been done without his knowledge.
“I am not sure that something like that happened,” he said. “I should have been informed because the 21st February Movement is a youth’s event.”
Tsenengamu said he was the one who in February this year pledged, on behalf of the youths, to buy Mugabe a planter as a birthday present. But Mafiosi confirmed that he, together with Goche, Kasukuwere and a few others indeed presented a six-liner planter and other farming equipment to Mugabe.
He said Mujuru was aware of the presentation, but could not come, as she was committed elsewhere. “We could not invite everyone because it was not a rally. As the chairman, I represent the whole provincial leadership,” said Mafiosi.
He also denied that he was interested in toppling Dinha as governor. “The discretion and criteria of appointing a governor rests in the President,” said Mafiosi. “By handing him over a gift, this does not influence one to be a governor.”
He said Zanu PF in Mashonaland Central was united and had a “solid chain of command” with the provincial structures reporting to Goche, who in turn takes up issues raised to the politburo and presidium.
Goche allies attack Mujuru, Dinha at rally
Last week on Saturday, a meeting was held at Nzvimbo growth point, where Dinha and Mujuru were again allegedly lambasted for “thinking” they were closer to Mugabe.
The sources said it was interesting that Defence minister, Emmerson Mnangagwa was also blasted.
In turn, Mujuru allegedly attacked Goche, Kasukuwere and Mafiosi during a tense politburo meeting last Wednesday, where she accused the three of undermining her.
The politburo source said Mujuru was not happy her candidates lost in Mt Darwin, Bindura and Mazowe, although her loyalists retained Shamva, Mbire and Muzarabani, putting the two factions at par ahead of provincial elections.
a source close to the Goche camp, accused Mujuru of sponsoring former Guruve North legislator, David Butau, to challenge Mafiosi as provincial chairman.
Mafiosi’s Mt Darwin North parliamentary seat is also under threat from a ZRP superintendent identified only as Muponora, but the legislator declared he was ready for the challenge.