Zanu PF is facing increasing divisions and defiance from supporters over imposed election candidates, threatening its chances in this year’s polls. President Emmerson Mnangagwa has ordered party members to unite behind all candidates, but evidence shows this is not happening on the ground.
Supporters have been heckling and walking out of campaign rallies for candidates they feel were wrongly imposed by the controversial Forever Association Zimbabwe (FAZ) group. Meetings in Mashonaland East, Midlands and Masvingo have been disrupted by supporters rejecting FAZ-backed candidates.
The divisons are reportedly worst in Masvingo province, where supporters accuse the party leadership of taking bribes and rigging the primaries in favor of certain candidates. In Gutu East, a popular candidate George Vhengere was initially announced winner before FAZ backtracked and chose Benjamin Ganyiwa, said to be close to provincial leaders.
Zanu PF political commissar Mike Bimha says the party is organizing programmes to unite members, but observers say the divisions run deep and threaten to cost Zanu PF votes in the coming elections. The imposed candidates lack grassroots support, and supporters are vowing to vote for the opposition in protest.
The growing rebellion against FAZ and the imposition of candidates suggests Zanu PF may face an uphill battle holding onto seats in this year’s elections. Mnangagwa’s attempts to unite the party seem to be failing as ground-level divisions fester.