The party’s central committee on Friday agreed to disband its DCCs, blaming the structures for causing the current serious divisions which have rocked the party ahead of elections and a possible battle to succeed 88-year-old President Robert Mugabe.
Sources in the party said Mujuru engineered the disbanding of the structures after it became apparent that many of her loyalists had lost DCC elections in provinces such as Masvingo, Mashonaland Central, Mashonaland West and Manicaland to her main rival, Defence minister Emmerson Mnangagwa’s faction.
“Mujuru, with the support of Webster Shamu (national commissar) managed to convince Mugabe that the DCC elections have become a playground for his succession and had created divisions which can destroy the party ahead of elections,” said a Politburo source.
“Mugabe bought the idea, but we all know that Mujuru was fighting for her political survival, after her rivals upstaged her candidates even in her own backyard (Mashonaland Central).”
Another Zanu PF official said provincial elections had already been set for September this year, and the ground was now even for both Mujuru and Mnangagwa if they were to go ahead.
“It is back to square one for the two camps, but from the look of things, Mujuru has been given a breathing space and for now, she has time to re-strategise,” said the official.
He predicted that DCCs would be reconstituted in another name, after national elections expected in June next year.
Most officials in the disbanded DCC structures said they were shocked by the Central committee decision.
But DCC chairman for Hurungwe, Temba Mliswa, said they were bound by the decision.
“The Central Committee has spoken. We are now waiting for the party to tell us where we stand and the way forward,” he said.
The Zanu PF aligned Zimbabwe Lawyers for Justice commended the party’s move saying DCCs were being manipulated by “opportunists and pseudo revolutionaries.”
“The DCCs served no purpose and had been hijacked in the succession agenda,” said Advocate Martin Dinha, National coordinator of the ZLJ.
“It is now incumbent upon the party to ensure that cells, branches and provinces become dynamic and vibrant. There is also need to relook at other institutions of the party.”
He said after the disbanding of the DCCs, the next step should be for the presidium to wield the axe on other non-performing elements in the party.
Dinha said the party could withstand the challenge of the MDC-T, but it was necessary that it reconsidered the composition of the central committee and politburo, including decentralising and modernising the institutions taking a cue from the Chinese Communist Party.
But University of Zimbabwe Political Science lecturer, Shakespeare Hamauswa said removing DCCs from its structures would not solve the root causes of problems within Zanu PF.
“DCCs are needed for mobilisation of voters,” he said. “Removing them is not going to solve the internal divisions which may actually get worse because there will not be an authority to resolve conflicts at district level.”
Hamauswa predicted that divisions would resurface when the party holds its primary elections and once the talk to succeed Mugabe begins officially.
Zanu PF spokesperson, Rugare Gumbo could not be reached for comment, but on Friday said DCCs had outlived their purpose and were causing divisions instead of unity among members.