DEEP-SEATED divisions and fierce jostling for posts are gnawing Zanu PF as two post-2017 coup factions reportedly aligned to President Emmerson Mnangagwa and his deputy Constantino Chiwenga engage in a fiery tug-of-war to control the party ahead of next year’s general elections.
The ruling party will hold its congress towards the end of the year to elect its leaders.
Zanu PF Harare provincial chairperson Goodwills Masimirembwa yesterday said: “Indeed, there is factionalism in Harare province. President Mnangagwa implored us to deal with it and it will be a thing of the past soon.”
In Masvingo, president of the Chiefs Council Fortune Charumbira acknowledged that the province was riddled with factionalism which was threatening to tear apart the ruling party.
“Masvingo province, let me warn you, please unite, unite, the province fought hard for us to get into the new dispensation. It was the leading province until former First Lady Grace Mugabe said Masvingo you are causing trouble by supporting Mnangagwa. We no longer want you in Zanu PF,” Charumbira said during burial of provincial hero Sylvester Maunganidze in Masvingo at the weekend.
In Mashonaland East, the Zanu PF provincial leadership also suspended Chikomba district co-ordinating committee (DCC) chairperson Alfred Pedzisa as factionalism within the ruling party reached fever pitch.
Pedzisa was suspended at a rally held at Sadza growth point on Sunday after being accused of “gross misconduct” among other charges, which he denies.
Transport minister Felix Mhona, who is also Chikomba Central MP, was appointed acting Chikomba DCC chairperson.
Mhona is also the party’s provincial secretary for administration.
In a statement, provincial spokesperson Tatenda Mavetera confirmed Pedzisa’s suspension.
“The provincial chairperson Daniel Garwe and his provincial team descended on Chikomba East and were not happy with the level of indiscipline and slackness of party business.
“The DCC chairperson Alfred Pedzisa was relieved of his duties to pave way for investigations into matters of indiscipline and gross misconduct. Mhona has been appointed acting DCC chairperson for Chikomba district,” the statement read.
Pedzisa yesterday confirmed the suspension, but denied the allegations.
“It is true that I was suspended, but I am not aware of the allegations. I was never summoned for a hearing only to be relieved off (my duties) like that,” he said.
A few months ago, the provincial leadership suspended provincial member Cleopas Kundiona, accusing him of indiscipline before overturning the decision two weeks later.
In Matabeleland North, a faction linked to Zanu PF secretary Obert Mpofu is said to be losing grip on the ruling party’s structures during the on-going internal elections ahead of the decisive congress later this year. Mpofu’s faction is said to be aligned to Chiwenga.
Insiders told NewsDay that the December 2021 party provincial elections in the province were rigged after Matabeleland North Provincial Affairs minister Richard Moyo won the elections under controversial circumstances.
Zanu PF commissar Mike Bimha said: “There are people who have differences and preferences, but that is not factionalism. When people go into an internal process, and if there is Peter who is voted for against other candidates, that is not factionalism. I want to make it clear there is no factionalism.”
Meanwhile, Zanu PF will this weekend audit its party structures ahead of the make or break 2023 general elections.
It will launch national cell day at the weekend to compel all party leaders to attend meetings at cell level.
Addressing journalists at the party headquarters, Bimha said the strategy would weed out liars who had registered false cells to his department.
“We are geared for the 2023 elections and this is where our campaign is going to start, we need to account for ourselves, we have to identify and strategise for ourselves and audit our cells,” Bimha said, adding that even Mnangagwa would attend the cell meetings at his Sherwood Farm near Kwekwe.
During the March 26 by-elections, Zanu PF lost most of the constituencies to the opposition Citizens Coalition for Change led by Nelson Chamisa, which has forced it to revisit its strategies.
Bimha could not disclose the number of cells that Zanu PF has, saying he would only do so after the verification exercise.