BY MUGOVE TAFIRENYIKA
ZANU PF continues to reel from its seemingly intractable factional wars around the country, a fortnight after the former liberation movement installed its new team of provincial chairpersons.
The ugly infighting is not sparing President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s home province of Midlands, which witnessed violence at the weekend as the region attempted to complete the election of other provincial executives.
This was despite the fact that the province had seemingly appeared to have managed to contain its internal wars at the end of last year, after Larry Mavhima was elected provincial boss by consensus, as other regions were burning.
Well-placed sources said that so chaotic did the Midlands meeting become at the weekend, that former Energy minister Fortune Chasi — who was superintending the process — was forced to call off the gathering.
This apparently came as some aggrieved party members protested against alleged attempts by a faction linked to Local Government minister July Moyo and his State security counterpart, Owen “Mudha” Ncube, to allocate the position of deputy provincial chairperson to Edmore Chiherenge — against Mavhima’s wishes.
One of the sources even claimed that this later saw the MP for Chirumhanzu-Zibagwe, Prosper Machando, being involved in a fist fight with an unnamed youth.
Machando refused to discuss the matter saying “it is not my duty to discuss with the media what transpired at the meeting”.
“But if we were involved in a fight we would be arrested. That is what the law says. So, I don’t know what you are talking about,” he added.
Another source claimed that trouble began after one of the dominant factions in the province allegedly brought two kombis full of their supporters who were armed with machetes, to intimidate supporters of the rival camp, to ensure that only their allies would constitute the provincial executive.
“The whole process was chaotic … When people protested, it was then that Machando charged at the youth before slapping him, resulting in the young man retaliating, whereupon an ugly fist fight ensued.
“Outside, there were two kombis full of people armed with machetes, which made the atmosphere intimidating. So, some people decided to leave fearing for their lives.
“The chaos escalated after people who won in various administrative districts discovered that their names had been taken out and replaced with those of losers when the final list came from the national party headquarters — showing that somebody there had tampered with the list.
“All this contributed to the chaos that led to the abandonment of the process of allocating positions, from deputy provincial chairperson going down,” the source said.
Contacted for his comment, Zanu PF national political commissar, Mike Bimha, said he was yet to get a full report from the provinces as to what had transpired.
“We are still waiting for the report from the Midlands and other provinces and we expect to have them soon.
“However, any problems that may have been encountered in the process will be resolved by the politburo members on the ground.
“They are the people in charge and they have the capacity to handle whatever they encounter,” the affable Bimha said.
A guarded Chasi, while confirming to that the elections party in the Midlands had indeed been halted added that: “We had too much work to do, and so we did not conclude anything”.
In the meantime, it has emerged that the elections will now be held on Saturday this week.
The election process has been as problematic in other problems such as Mashonaland Central, Mashonaland East and Mashonaland West.
All this also comes after aggrieved Zanu PF bigwigs who lost the recent party provincial leaders’ positions were dealt a hammer blow last week after the politburo decided not to reverse the outcomes of the polls.
“Complaints from provinces were attended to and most will be attended to, but they won’t affect the results announced today.
“The commissariat listens to all. There were issues of violence here and there and these will be investigated.
“We expect the same teams that supervised provinces to go back because all provincial structures were dissolved and politburo members were now in charge.
“Now with new executives, they will go back to give authority back to the newly elected officials,” Bimha said after a crucial politburo meeting in Harare.
The decision by the politburo to uphold the provincial election results came after Mnangagwa had earlier berated some party officials for “chicanery in some areas” in the polls, while also calling for unity between the victors and the vanquished.
“It is the people and ultimately the party that wins. Party cadres who did not make it in the recent elections must avail themselves, their experiences, skills and competencies to build and grow our party.
“Irregularities and political chicanery across party structures must be decisively dealt with and expunged from the party.
“An election lost must never dampen the revolutionary spirit of any cadre, but must inspire them to learn, develop and mature in their political career,” Mnangagwa said.
“In all our dealings, members must conduct themselves honourably, informed by the party constitution, rules procedures, principles and ethos,” he added.
In Mashonaland West, where Mary Mliswa-Chikoka made history by becoming the first woman to occupy the influential provincial chairperson’s position in the party, losing candidate Kindness Paradza had said that he was pinning his hopes on the politburo nullifying the results of that election.
Mliswa-Chikoka polled 16 931 votes against Paradza’s 8 257 in the contest.
“The elections were flawed from the beginning to the end. Some candidates were actually transporting ballot papers by themselves in the absence of presiding officers and the police.
“It was free for all. It is now up to the politburo to make a decision because we had the national secretary for security, Lovemore Matuke, supervising the process and he has all the information on what went wrong.
“In some cases, some candidates were getting as many as over 200 votes at polling stations where the total number of voters was 140.
“All that goes to show the extent of the vote rigging that was going on,” said the aggrieved Paradza, who is also the deputy minister of Information.
Similarly in Masvingo, Provincial Affairs minister Ezra Chadzamira — who lost the chairmanship to Rabison Mavhenyengwa — was also seeking a re-run.
At the same time, war veterans in Mashonaland Central had written to the party protesting against the manner in which Home Affairs minister Kazembe Kazembe romped to victory to retain his position at the expense of Grain Millers Association chairperson Tafadzwa Musarara.
All this prompted political analysts to warn that this could trigger a fresh “Bhora Musango” mess during the 2023 national elections, if the raging factional wars were not properly managed.
The phrase “Bhora Musango” gained prominence in the 2008 elections when some disgruntled Zanu PF bigwigs influenced party supporters to scorn the late former president Robert Mugabe while voting for the ex-liberation movement’s parliamentary candidates.
This “internal sabotage campaign” almost buried an increasingly unpopular Mugabe then — who appeared hell-bent on dying in office — and was particularly rife in the Mashonaland provinces. – Daily News