ZANU PF infighting has deepened amid reports that several provincial executives will be purged as the battle to succeed President Robert Mugabe rages on.
This comes at a time when the fight for the control of Manicaland province has taken a new twist with reports that a recent petition to Mugabe against secretary for administration, Didymus Mutasa contained forged signatures.
The fights have so far resulted in the dissolution of the Killian Sibanda-led Bulawayo provincial executive and the appointment of a new one led by Callistus Ndlovu.
The squabbles also pro-mpted the party to dispatch a team to probe problems in Manicaland where officials led by women's league boss Oppah Muchinguri and Justice minister, Patrick Chinamasa wrote the petition accusing Mutasa of fanning divisions and dictatorial tendencies.
Sources said different factions in Zanu PF were battling to control provinces to position themselves for the succession of Mugabe. The fights were pitting two main factions, one loyal to Vice-President Joice Mujuru and another sympathetic to defence minister Emmerson Mnangagwa.
A politburo member said after Manicaland where provincial chairman Mike Madiro, a perceived ally of Mnangagwa, was recently suspended; the axe would soon fall on more provincial executives.
He said the next target was the John Mafa-led executive in Mashonaland West, followed by the Lovemore Matuke executive in Masvingo and the Mashonaland central one led by Dickson Mafios.
"These fights are about succession. People are fighting to dominate the provincial structures so that when the time for succession comes, they will be in a better position to win," said the politburo member.
Fresh details emerged that although the petitioners accused Mutasa of imposing candidates in constituencies, some of the signatories had approached the Zanu PF secretary for administration to be installed as the party's representatives without going via the primary election route.
It is understood that Mutasa had been protecting the so-called heavyweights in the province and had told them he would not render such support in the forthcoming elections.
It emerged last week that Chinamasa had allegedly dispatched Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development minister Joseph Made to Mutasa so that he would persuade Basil Nyabadza to pull out of the race for Makoni Central in the forthcoming primary elections.
"Made was asked at the meeting in Mutare last weekend and he confirmed that," a source said.
At the meeting, a highly charged Chinamasa ripped into Nyabadza accusing him of working for whites, citing the Chisumbanje ethanol project and the Save Valley Conservancy issues.
Chinamasa is also said to have told the meeting that Madiro and his deputy Dorothy Mabika were being harassed for allegedly stealing a calf.
The duo is being charged for allegedly stealing cattle donated to President Mugabe by a Manicaland farmer.
This has riled some members who felt that as minister of Justice, Chinamasa should avoid working with people facing serious charges.
Chinamasa, Mutasa and Zanu PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo were yesterday not answering their phones.
'some leaders are happy with The status quo'
A Zanu PF official queried the co-option of a senior central bank official into the commissariat department led by Webster Shamu. He said there were suspicions that the official had been planted by another emerging faction which had no links to both the Mujuru and Mnangagwa factions.
"The official is now acting as a consultant and fundraising for the party, but our fears are that this is meant to prop up this faction," said the official.
The official said although Zanu PF was posturing about the need to go for elections soon, most senior leaders such as Mujuru, national chairman Simon Khaya-Moyo and Mutasa were against polls.
"Some of the leaders want the situation to remain like that because they believe that in the event Mugabe is incapacitated, they will automatically be elevated," he said.