ZANU PF plunged further into political turmoil last Friday as a faction led by Defence Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa bluntly told the politburo they will not accept another attempt by the party to block him from succeeding Robert Mugabe.
In a marathon 'no holds barred' meeting, Mnangagwa's camp accused the party of enacting laws to prevent the ZANU PF strongman from taking over the party leadership.
In 2009, just as it seemed Mnangagwa had garnered enough support to win the Vice-Presidency of the party, a ZANU PF congress resolution stated that one of the party's two deputy presidents had to be a woman. This cleared the way for Joice Mujuru to be elected to that post.
Two months ago the politburo disbanded the District Coordinating Committees, after Mnangagwa's camp had captured the majority of the countrywide structures. The politburo said he had used his wealth to buy votes but Mnangagwa's faction saw this as a plot to block him from using the structures to have a run at the Presidency.
During Friday's politburo meeting Mnangagwa's faction said they were adamant that the clause in the draft constitution that empowers the party leader to choose his running mates will have to be amended, or deleted altogether during the second all stakeholders' conference.
The Midlands province, which is the Defence Minister's stronghold, is strongly against this clause and refers to it as the 'Mnangagwa clause' saying it eliminates him from succeeding Mugabe.
While ZANU PF has tried to brush off the revolt against Mugabe as 'a storm in a teacup' analysts told us the situation was very serious, as evidenced by the party's plan to hold three consecutive politburo meetings in 7 days.
'They met last week Wednesday at which they failed to reach consensus. They met again on Friday for 12 hours and failed to reach an agreement and they resolved to meet again this Wednesday where they hope to finalise discussion on the draft constitution and running mates clause. This tells us it hasn't been easy, it's been quite a challenge for Mugabe and his ZANU PF party,' the source added.