ZANU PF activist Sybeth Musengezi has warned that factionalism and disgruntlement are breeding seeds for another bhora musango, that will see ruling party members voting for the opposition in the general elections expected next year.
His utterances come as divisions in the Zanu PF’s Bulawayo province along factional lines have emerged amid reports that some of the women nominated for the party’s women’s league posts have alleged G40 links.
Musengezi, who recently challenged President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s 2017 ascendancy to power, accused the Zanu PF leadership of failing to properly run the country, which he said was giving leverage for the party faithful to vote for opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) leader Nelson Chamisa.
Bhora musango was a clandestine campaign by some Zanu PF leaders in the run-up to the 2008 harmonised elections, which urged the party members to vote against the late Robert Mugabe, despite voting for the party’s parliamentary and local authority candidates.
“Our current leaders have failed to run the country, they have failed the economy. Corruption is rife and generally people are suffering. On top of that, there is a lot of disgruntlement and factionalism in Zanu PF, so bhora musango is inevitable,” Musengezi tweeted.
“If Chamisa plays his cards well, I foresee him winning the hearts of many in 2023, even among those currently in Zanu PF may vote for him.”
While addressing the media last week, Zanu PF party spokesperson Christopher Mutsvangwa admitted that there were growing fissures within the ruling party, but claimed that Mnangagwa had a right to serve for another term as stated in the Constitution.
In Bulawayo, there were reports that some party members were unhappy that people perceived to be part of the G40 cabal had been selected as members of the party’s Bulawayo province women’s league last week.
These include veteran politician Angeline Masuku, Maidei Mpala, Rebecca Manjere and Rose Jerengwa.
Some party members believe that two of the women are from the G40 cabal.
An insider said: “Over the weekend, the province’s women’s league chose representatives to the national league. Some of the women’s league national representatives came out to be G40 members. The plan remains to destroy Zanu PF from within so that we could lose elections through bhora musango. During the by-elections, people in Bulawayo voted for CCC.”
Zanu PF Bulawayo spokesperson Archibold Chiponda said: “Unless you tell me who these so-called people that are complaining are, I do not know where that G40 issue is coming from.”
Political analysts said the possibility of a bhora musango could not be ruled out.
“After the 2017 coup, the ruling party Zanu PF has been struggling with increased internal contradictions within its leaders due to factionalism. We even saw factionalism playing out in internal provincial elections and this may affect the party’s electoral showing in 2023,” political analyst Vivid Gwede said.
Another political analyst Methuseli Moyo said: “Anything is possible considering the reports of factions in Zanu PF. The forthcoming annual gathering will either mend or widen the cracks. If the cracks persist, Mnangagwa must prepare himself for a run-off, or at worst, an outright defeat. He has to marshal his troops very well for 2023. It will not be easy. It promises to be a well-contested election.”
However, political analyst Maxwell Saungweme said people should not read much into the ongoing Zanu PF factional battles.
“Zanu will be Zanu PF. They have gone in the previous three general elections divided and factional battles were going on, but at the end, they are announced the winners. What makes them win is the patronage system they have, and superior organisational level around elections than the opposition, the State institutions they capture, public resources they divert to party business, violence and electoral fraud. So don’t read too much into Zanu PF factionalism.”
Political analyst Rejoice Ngwenya said: “I don’t think Zanu PF factional wars result in a high vote displacement rate. They gain more from a united front than division, so they tend to gravitate towards unity during electoral times. However, we don’t know the gravity of the situation until their congress or primary elections are held. They will certainly lose votes, but not substantially.”