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President Mugabe is said to be plotting a vicious response to the challenge to his authority by ousted Joice Mujuru allies.

Mugabe, who is on an extended holiday in Singapore, turns 91 next month. His young wife, Grace is reportedly pushing him to jail Mujuru allies and strip them of their farms and other assets. But the challenge by Mujuru allies is unprecedented and appears to be gathering a groundswell of support.

Political analyst Ibbo Mandaza said Didymus Mutasa's statement was likely to shake the corridors of power in Zanu PF as it was a direct challenge to both Mugabe and the congress outcome.

"They are saying the congress was null and void and that the status quo of pre-congress should remain. What happened before congress was the illegal dismantling of elected committees and irregular amendments to the [party] constitution," Mandaza said.

He described Mutasa's statement as "strong, well-written and obviously prepared by very qualified lawyers".

Impeccable Zanu PF insiders yesterday said Mutasa's statement came as a result of a series of meetings by party cadres who felt Zanu PF had been hijacked by those who did not subscribe to the party's ideology.

"I can tell you that this statement did not just come. It was as a result of meetings held by comrades [liberation struggle stalwarts]. Comrades are not happy and if you look at the leadership now, I don't think it is what Mugabe wanted. Top posts have people like [Saviour] Kasukuwere [commissar] and [Ignatius] Chombo [secretary for administration] and it threatens the party's revolutionary values. It's now in the hands of mafikizolos," the source said.

"Oppah (Muchinguri), a war veteran, is number 10 in the party hierarchy while Grace has a powerful post. Sydney Sekeramayi, another senior member in the party, is last in the party hierarchy and you wonder what's going on now.

"Comrades are not happy with the current situation in the party and are ready to fight and correct all the wrongs. I can tell you that in the court application, affidavits will be attached to show how people were tortured ahead of congress in provinces by soldiers from the Presidential Guard," the source said.

Expelled Rugare Gumbo said he and several other vilified party officials purged for their perceived association with Mujuru were still operating and fighting for internal democracy from within Zanu PF.

In an interview with NewsDay yesterday, Gumbo said it was sad that Zanu PF had taken an undemocratic route, but maintained that he and other vilified members of the party would fight to ensure Zanu PF sticks to its founding principles.

"We want to revert to collective leadership. We have concentrated power in one person and we want to address that. We are operating within Zanu PF to find ways of addressing these issues," he added.

"We have argued and said we want to keep the original Zanu PF and we agree with Cde Mutasa on that one. The party has departed from the principles and values of Zanu PF so we are saying let's return to the values of the party that brought democracy and one-man/one-vote," he added.

He said Zanu PF made a mistake of concentrating power in President Robert Mugabe in the last three decades and there was need to correct the anomaly.

Meanwhile, Mutasa and other disgruntled VP Mujur's allies, have now extended an olive branch to former party gurus, among them Mavambo/Kusile/Dawn leader Simba Makoni and Zapu leader Dumiso Dabengwa, to form a grand coalition to fight Mugabe. There are also reports that the angry Zanu PF 'dissidents' are mnow ore than willing to work with MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai.

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