TENSIONS are rising in Zanu-PF as warring factions are plotting their strategies ahead of a crucial politiburo meeting tomorrow.
On top of the agenda is the push by a faction of the ruling party to force Vice-President Joice Mujuru to step down.
Mujuru and Justice minister Emmerson Mngangagwa are said to be leading factions fighting to succeed 90-year-old President Robert Mugabe.
But the two have steadfastly denied that they are leading factions.
Zanu-PF sources told VOA Studio 7 that the Mnangagwa camp is now pushing for First Lady Grace Mugabe or outgoing women's league boss Oppah Muchinguri to challenge Mujuru for the vice- president's post at the party's December elective congress.
Party insiders say with Mujuru enjoying the support of most of the provinces, there was a strategy to suspend some of her main backers ahead of the congress or pressure her to step down before then.
The Mujuru camp though is said to be pushing back, burning the midnight oil and moving to consolidate its base in preparation for a showdown at the politburo meeting and the party congress.
The Mnangagwa group is said to have been energised by the entrance of the First Lady into politics. Grace has been on a provincial campaign openly attacking Mujuru accusing her of corruption and causing divisions. She urged Mugabe to "baby dump her".
The First Lady was nominated as head of the women's wing of the party and is waiting endorsement by the party's politburo and the congress.
But she has hit the ground running, courting church leaders, traditional chiefs and youths to widen her base.
Senior Zanu-PF official Cephas Msipa, in an exclusive interview said the party was facing a crisis.
But another young turk in the party, Gokwe-Nembudziya legislator Justice Mayor Wadyajena – who is advocating for the elevation of the First Lady to the position of vice-president – said anyone can be challenged as per the party's constitution. voa