16 April 2013

Zimbabwe: Manicaland - Be Decisive, Zanu-PF Urged

ZANU-PF must be objective and decisive in dealing with problems bedevilling the party in Manicaland to ensure victory in the harmonised elections, observers and party officials have said.They said the party leadership's decision to pay lip-service when similar problems manifested in Mashonaland East ahead of the 2008 harmonised elections proved costly when disgruntled members resorted to the self-defeating "bhora musango" protest vote that saw votes being split between President Mugabe and Dr Simba Makoni who claimed to be a Zanu-PF candidate.

In the end, some Zanu-PF leaders openly told voters in their constituencies to vote for a Zanu-PF councillor, House of Assembly representative and/or senator and then Simba Makoni for president, a development that saw some Zanu-PF MPs getting higher votes than President Mugabe in their constituencies as the President's vote was split with Dr Makoni.

"Bhora musango" saw President Mugabe trail MDC-T leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai in the first round of the presidential contest even though Zanu-PF led the MDC-T in the popular vote nationwide.

Analysts say what makes Manicaland unique is that, along with Masvingo, it was the swing province that seriously dented Zanu-PF numbers in 2008 when out of the 26 seats available, Zanu-PF managed only six.

In the end, the revolutionary party lost the parliamentary majority it had enjoyed since independence in 1980.

Analysts say Zanu-PF should, without fear or favour, decisively deal with Manicaland to capitalise on the surging support that has been captured by recent surveys that have pointed to a Zanu-PF victory in harmonised elections slated for this year.

A high-powered delegation led by national chairperson Cde Simon Khaya Moyo was dispatched to Manicaland over the weekend to establish the cause of problems pursuant to finding a lasting solution.

The team also comprised national political commissar Cde Webster Shamu and deputy secretary for security Cde Kembo Mohadi.

Chairperson of the department of politics and administration at the University of Zimbabwe, Dr Charity Manyeruke, said what was important was for the party to be objective in establishing the problems.

"The team should be as objective as possible and in future it would be better for the party not to include in the inquiry team, people who are part of the problem," she said.

"It is important for the probe team to be objective and independent which means that those under investigations should have nothing to do with the team of inquiry.

"I think there is still a problem in the set-up of the team. The team should not take sides at all. It should be consultative and independent in coming up with recommendations that will be sent to the Politburo. It will be important for the team's recommendations not to seek to protect certain people or maintain the status quo."

Dr Manyeruke said infighting was common in most institutions adding that what was important was to find lasting solutions to those problems.

Political analyst, Mr Gabriel Chaibva, said the infighting in Manicaland would prove costly to the party if it was not decisively dealt with.

He said the infighting stemmed from individuals who wanted to claim responsibility for the inevitable Zanu-PF victory at the harmonised elections.

"What is happening in Manicaland is symptomatic of people who think it is over when in fact it hasn't started," he said.

"The challenges there are typical of troops who think they are going to be victors. So naturally, they start thinking who is where and what can I be. This is a very dangerous and self defeating disease.

"What needs to be done is that the leadership should be reminded about the battle ahead. The focus should be on the winning team not on personal aggrandizement and self glorification because everyone wants to be recognised as contributors to the victory when the battle has started. They are losing focus. Their eyes are off the ball when they should be focused on winning the elections."

Mr Chaibva said the party leadership was supposed to take a decisive position on the problems in Manicaland.

He said the revolutionary party could not sacrifice national and party interests for individuals.

"I personally don't hesitate to recommend a complete dissolution of the entire leadership involved in these squabbles and put in place an interim team for the purposes of elections. That should be a team that is prepared to put national and party interests ahead of their own. People should not forget that Manicaland was the biggest bhora musango at the last elections so the party should address these problems now," said Mr Chaibva.

Zanu-PF lost ground to MDC-T in the province in the last election, managing six seats out of a possible 26.

Midlands State University lecturer Mr Christopher Gwatidzo said the Zanu-PF leadership was supposed to ENsure a lasting solution was found in Manicaland.

"From the most recent conference that was held here in Gweru in December last year, the resolutions were that this time it should be bhora mugedhe. It was resolved that anyone who harbours the idea of bhora musango undermines the revolution.

"It would be important for party cadres to remain focused on the bigger picture which is the party and not individuals. A good leader must be a good follower. The party is bigger than individuals. People should subordinate their individual interests for national and party interests," said Mr Gwatidzo.

Zanu-PF youth league political commissar Cde Mike Gava said the problems arising from Manicaland were the reason the party lost most parliamentary seats in the province in the last elections.

"We had constituencies where we had two candidates from our party and that divided the vote resulting in us losing the constituency. All this is happening because there will be two people claiming to be the leaders.

"Leaders should first have respect for each other so that it can cascade downwards. People in Manicaland have no problem with Zanu-PF but what should be addressed are the leadership issues.

"The other reason why these problems are emanating is because of the forthcoming primary elections because people are trying to position themselves," said Cde Gava.

Youth league secretary for security Cde John Mushayi added: "It is time for people to concentrate on elections and not power struggles. As youths we are calling on the leadership to put the house in order without looking at people' status in the party.

"Once there is harmony in the leadership it will be easy for the grassroots to pursue the party agenda and ensure that we win the elections resoundingly." Cde Khaya Moyo's team is expected to compile a report that would be forwarded to the Politburo.

The probe team separately met Politburo and Central Committee members, war veterans and ex-detainees at Marymount Teachers College on Friday and Saturday in "a no-holds barred meeting".

The meeting started at 10am on Friday and ended at 2am on Saturday.

The probe team has finished restructuring Bulawayo Province and after Mutare it will descend on Harare Province.

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