Gumbo downplays Zanu (PF) faction fight

Zanu (PF) says its structures are "primed" for fresh general elections, and President Robert Mugabe will stand for another term.

Rugare Gumbo
Rugare Gumbo

Party spokesman, Rugare Gumbo, said the party's 48-member Politburo has been briefed by the Commissariat about the state of preparedness and is happy the necessary ground work had been done.

"We are ready for elections any time," Gumbo told The Zimbabwean. "However, we need to straighten our structures and generally understand what we did in the past and what went wrong," he added.

Mugabe and his party lost elections for the first time in March 2008 and was forced into a coalition with the then opposition MDC led by Morgan Tsvangirai, now prime minister.

Although Mugabe is in the twilight of a long political career, analysts say Zanu (PF) is torn by factional fighting over a successor, leaving the veteran leader's challengers weaker and unable to pose a serious challenge.

But Gumbo downplayed the factionalism. "We prosecuted the war, embarked on the land reform programme and indigenisation and empowerment of our people. People talk about divisions; Wikileaks, those things happen in any organisation.

Those are peripheral things. Zanu (PF) is straightforward. We know our trajectory and we know where we are going. The commissariat is working on strategies to revamp the party," he said.

Analysts believe that, in a fair election, Mugabe is likely to lose to Tsvangirai.

Mugabe was elected unopposed at the last congress to lead his party for another five years. A Zanu (PF) conference scheduled for Bulawayo is expected to automatically endorse Zanu (PF)'s presidential candidate in the next election, likely to be held in 2012, when he will be 88.

Hailed as a saviour by fanatical supporters and praised throughout Africa for standing up to what many see as bullying by the West, Mugabe is hated in equal measure by opponents who accuse him of being a dictator, intolerant of opposition.

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