Chaos in Zanu (PF)

Zanu (PF) has admitted that it is rocked by disunity, underhand plots and disgruntlement within its ranks.

Ignatius Chombo

Ignatius Chombo

The turbulence was reflected in the numerous state of the party reports given at the 291st ordinary Zanu (PF) politburo meeting on Wednesday.

Ruling party insiders told The Zimbabwean that Ignatius Chombo, the national administration secretary, downplayed the provincial reports when he briefed the media after the meeting.

“Chombo painted a rosy picture about what took place at the meeting, but the truth of the matter is that there was gloom and doom during the session that left the delegates tense and pensive. The party is in disarray. There is a lot of controversy over the way Tyson (Saviour Kasuwere, the national commissar), is carrying out restructuring and all the provinces complained about this,” said a senior party member.

Chombo told journalists after the session that Zanu (PF) provinces had given reports of the situation in their jurisdictions, but did not directly note the reported fissures and instability in his party.

Multi-faceted threats

However, he hinted at problems in the party. “The membership was urged to be disciplined, calm and united in the face of the multi-faceted threats faced by the party,” said Chombo.

The sources said the provinces’ grassroots supporters were disgruntled by Kasukuwere’s apparent persecution of people viewed to be sympathetic to former vice president Joice Mujuru and alleged attempts to impose his own candidates in cells, wards, districts and provincial structures.

“There is widespread suspicion among party members, particularly in Mashonaland East, Mashonaland West, the Midlands and Masvingo, that Kasukuwere is trying to build a political nest for himself and those aligned to him,” said the source, who declined to be named.

Several provinces indicated that even though a mobilisation exercise was underway, a significant number of grassroots members could move over to Mujuru’s People First (PF) movement, he said.

PF last week reportedly shook Zanu (PF) when its undeclared leader, Mujuru, launched a manifesto that is seen as a clear sign that she intends to lead the movement in opposition.

MDC-T’s Morgan Tsvangirai has already hailed Mujuru’s intentions to step into opposition politics, saying that brings hope for a better political future in Zimbabwe.

Mujuru, together with scores of senior party members who included ministers, were expelled from Zanu (PF) for allegedly trying to remove Mugabe from power, subsequently setting up the PF outfit.

The politburo meeting, said the insiders, discussed Mujuru’s Blueprint to Unlock Investment and Leverage Development (BUILD) manifesto launched last Monday. “Most of the politburo members said it was a non-event and they must not waste time on Mujuru, but that was merely playing to the gallery because outside the politburo, the bosses agree that she could pose a big challenge to Zanu (PF),” said another source.

Recent reports indicate that Zanu (PF) has upped state security surveillance of the opposition as the ruling party panics ahead of the 2018 general elections.

Analysts agree that the launch of the BUILD document has startled Zanu (PF), at a time opposition parties have shown an intention to converge against the ruling party.

Tendai Biti, the leader of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) that was launched last week, told The Zimbabwean recently that they were prepared to work with disgruntled former Zanu (PF) members.

Disarray

The politburo meeting was reportedly informed that the majority of the party’s membership, particularly in rural areas, had not paid up their subscription while the party structures registers were in disarray.

“The failure to pay up could be because of poverty, but there is a possibility that people just reluctant to buy the cards due to disgruntlement,” said the second source.

The sources said politburo members expressed discomfort with party coffers ahead of the Zanu (PF) conference likely to be held in December.

A faction aligned to Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa who replaced Mujuru at the Zanu (PF) congress last December argued that Mujuru’s removal would create unity in the party.

However, more fissures are said to have emerged as the party hawks jostle to take over from Mugabe, who will be more than 94 when the next elections are held in 2018.

Opposition parties are generally agreed that they must coalesce so as to dislodge Zanu (PF). Said Biti recently: “No single party can remove Zanu (PF) from power on its own.”

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