PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa’s backers were forced to cancel a solidarity march that was meant to boost his 2023 re-election campaign as discontent grew in Zanu PF over his increasing reliance on parallel structures, it has emerged.
The solidarity march that was pencilled for August 27, which was organised by an outfit calling itself MenBelievED, was abandoned at the 11th hour with the organisers saying they will provide details about their next move.
Nothing has been heard from the organisers of the march almost a month later.
It has since been revealed by insiders that Mnangagwa buckled under pressure after it became clear that Zanu PF party structures were not happy about being sidelined amid concerns about the sprouting of parallel structures.
The march was cancelled after it became clear that it no longer had the Zanu PF leader’s backing.
A fortnight ago, the Zimbabwe Republic Police issued a statement saying there were criminals that were abusing Mnangagwa and first lady Auxillia Mnangagwa’s names by holding events, which they claimed were sanctioned by the president.
Police threatened that several arrests were looming over the issue but no one has been charged over the allegations.
There was a growing feeling in Zanu PF that Mnangagwa was rewarding opportunists looking for money and other material benefits such as cars, the ruling party sources said.
“These guys simply form groups, which they will use to gain access to the president,” a party official who requested anonymity said.
“Of interest is that these guys don’t bring in any new supporters.
“The money given to support them can make meaningful impact if given to the structures of the party.
“Imagine, there are many people who have been in party structures for decades and have never met the president.
“They have nothing to show for their effort, but someone simply forms a group and gets a car, laptop, tablets or mobile phones and data.
“That money and resources are given to Varakashi for ED when the information department at the party headquarters does not have resources.”
Another ruling party official said Zanu PF structures such as the women and youth leagues felt ignored in events organised for Mnangagwa and the first lady.
“Like last time, we had Young Women for ED partnering with the first lady for cooking sessions in Bulawayo and there was no involvement of the women’s league,” said a senior women’s league member.
“It explains why the women and youth leagues are not doing anything because they have realised the president and the first lady have more faith in those parallel structures.”
Another official who also requested anonymity for fear of victimisation said having parallel structures campaigning for Mnangagwa would pose a huge threat to the party if the president wins in the 2023 elections.
“A president, who will win using parallel structures will never respect party structure and this will pose a huge threat to the party,” he said.
“One of the many ways we differ with the opposition CCC is that we have structures and all that we do should be driven by the structures.
“So how different will we be from Chamisa who does not have structures if we don’t rely on them?
“The truth is, we feel our president no longer has faith in the structures because he thinks others support Vice-President (Constantino) Chiwenga to take over power from him. So, it seems he wants his own people to lead his campaign.”
MenBelievED founder Justice Matsatsira and Zanu PF spokesperson Christopher Mutsvangwa were not answering their mobile phones when reached for comment.
In the past, similar solidarity marches were organised by party organs at the height of factional fights in Zanu PF that pitted late president Robert Mugabe and Mnangagwa.
Mugabe was eventually toppled in a coup in 2017, which paved the way for his deputy.
In 2016, former Zanu PF youth secretary Kudzai Chipanga organised a “million-man march” in support of Mugabe amid manoeuvres by a camp linked to Mnangagwa to remove him.
— The Standard