Mutare — President Robert Mugabe has warned that deep-seated divisions in Zanu PF could prove costly to him and the party in the forthcoming election.
By Clayton Masekesa
Mugabe said although he was still “marketable” as a candidate, he feared that bickering could again cause “unnecessary discord and the self-defeating bhora musango’’ by disgruntled supporters.
Bhora musango is when Zanu PF supporters vent their anger at candidate imposition by shunning party candidates or voting for the opposition.
Mugabe was speaking at the Zimbabwe Local Government Association 3rd biennial conference in Mutare on Friday.
Mugabe blamed his top lieutenants in the party for being at the forefront of causing problems and bringing confusion in Zanu PF.
“The divisions in the party are being caused by some top officials from the party. I know these [divisions] are being fanned by some of us at the top,” he said. “But, one has to be reminded that if one becomes an MP today he/she can be replaced by another one in the next election.”
Mugabe said imposition of candidates was wrong, as all Zanu PF members had a right to stand in an election.
“We should allow competition. Those that are defeated should accept defeat and should work together to win elections, but we have seen others imposing their own candidates resulting in the issue of bhora musango,” he said.
Mugabe once again appealed for peaceful elections.
“We hope that elections go well, smoothly and honestly although some people say we [Zanu PF] rig elections. It is the work of our enemies from the West who take small incidences of violence as a big issue and start saying that elections in Zimbabwe are not free and fair,” he said.
Mugabe acknowledged that there were problems in Zanu PF in Manicaland and called on party members in the province to unite.
The province has seen party bigwigs allegedly led by women’s league boss, Oppah Muchinguri and Justice minister, Patrick Chinamasa petitioning Mugabe to rein in Secretary for Administration, Didymus Mutasa.
Mutasa was accused of dictatorship, imposition of candidates and fanning divisions, allegations he has flatly denied.
The petitioners warned that another “bhora musango” was imminent unless the allegations against Mutasa were addressed.
The petitioners are believed to be aligned to a faction loyal to Defence minister, Emmerson Mnangagwa which is pitted against one loyal to vice-President Joice Mujuru, as they fight to position themselves to succeed 89-year-old Mugabe.
Both Mujuru and Mnangagwa have repeatedly denied leading factions or harbouring presidential ambitions.
Sources said fights within Zanu PF have intensified after the party announced last week that a sub-committee drafting rules and regulations to govern the conduct of primary elections had completed its work.
The Zanu PF fights have so far resulted in the suspension of Manicaland provincial chairman, Mike Madiro and his deputy Dorothy Mabika who are linked to the Mnangagwa faction. The Killian Sibanda Bulawayo provincial executive was also dissolved with Callistus Ndlovu being installed as chairman.
A probe team led by national chairman, Simon Khaya-Moyo was supposed to descend on Masvingo yesterday. But sources said the trip was postponed after the Lovemore Matuke provincial executive, said to be loyal to the Mnangagwa faction, complained that it was being unfairly targeted.
“It’s now dog eat dog as the election approaches. Complains were raised after a letter was written addressed to the acting provincial chairman to prepare for the trip,” said a politburo member. “The feeling was that the letter proves that a position has already been taken to dissolve the executive before taking the due process.”
The politburo source said problems have also resurfaced in Bulawayo as party supporters were refusing to recognise the Ndlovu executive saying it was imposed by the presidium.
Zanu PF spokesperson, Rugare Gumbo could not be reached for comment last night.