Infighting rocks ZANU PF in Manicaland province

There have been unprecedented demonstrations by hundreds of ZANU PF supporters against their party chairman in Manicaland province, over alleged imposition of candidates.

The demonstrators have been camped at the ZANU PF headquarters in Mutare since Sunday night and have vowed that they will not leave until Mike Madiro the chairman is ousted from his position.

The party held its District Coordinating Committees elections over the weekend in five districts where the party chairman is alleged to have imposed a number of candidates from the Emmerson Mnangagwa faction.

Madiro also went around the province de-campaigning candidates linked to the Joice Mujuru faction. A Mutare based journalist told SW Radio Africa on Monday that Madiro is well known for his close links with Defence Minister Mnangagwa.

He was also one of those senior party members suspended from ZANU PF for taking part in the controversial Tsholotsho meeting in 2004 where allegedly a coup was plotted against Robert Mugabe. This group of party ‘renegades’ was re-admitted to the party following ZANU PF’s dismal showing in the 2008 elections.

The battle for control in Manicaland is pitting Madiro against the party’s deputy secretary for information and publicity in the province, Charles Samuriwo. There are reports Samuriwo resigned from his position on Wednesday last week, citing irreconcilable differences with Madiro and other members of the executive

It is believed Samuriwo, with support from party heavyweight Didymus Mutasa, is leading a spirited campaign to have the weekend elections declared null and void. There are allegations that where candidates from the Mujuru faction came out victors, results were immediately annulled, a situation that helped spark the current crisis.

‘I can tell you without doubt that those people (Madiro and Samuriwo) are the worst of enemies now. The factional infighting has been building for some time and there has always been tension between the two camps so events over the weekend brought their differences into the open.

Demonstrators outside the party headquarters are saying they want the national leadership to see how the elections were rigged by Madiro to favour the Mnangagwa camp. After that, they want Madiro and his executive to step down for setting in motion events that have left the party in tatters in the province,’ the journalist said.

Police in Mutare have not dared to intervene and there are indications the fight is far from over as Madiro hit back at his detractors, saying he will not step down.

‘Madiro is making it clear he will not step down and wants those responsible for the protests to appear before a disciplinary hearing for bringing the party’s name in disrepute,’ the journalist added. SW Radio Africa

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