4 November 2013

Zimbabwe: 'One Party, Two Factions' - Zanu-PF's Factional Politics

Photo: Gado/RNW
Introducing Zimbabwe's presidential candidate, Robert Mugabe.

The slow-burning crisis within the ruling ZANU PF party has all but burst out into the open following the hotly disputed provincial elections.

Our correspondent Lionel Saungweme told us that from the results that have been declared so far, it appears Vice-President Joice Mujuru has made significant strides in her quest to replace President Robert Mugabe as leader of ZANU PF.

Elections were held in Manicaland and Midlands provinces while in the rest of the provinces the polls were suspended, due to reports of rigging and allegations of vote buying. In Manicaland John Mvundura, a Mujuru ally, beat Monica Mutsvangwa from the Emmerson Mnangagwa camp.

In the Midlands province Larry Mavhima, a blue eyed boy of Mnangagwa, lost the provincial leadership contest to incumbent Jaison Machaya from the Mujuru camp.

With the party going for its elective congress next year where a possible successor to Mugabe will emerge Mnangagwa, long touted as a frontrunner to succeed the long serving President, seems to be struggling.

To take over from Mugabe one of the faction leaders needs support from seven out of the 10 party provinces.

'As a result of his links to the Gukurahundi massacres, Mnangagwa's allies will struggle to win in the two Matabeleland provinces and Bulawayo. In Masvingo Mnangagwa might win but the rest of the provinces it appears the Mujuru faction has an edge over the ZANU PF strongman,' Saungweme said.

In what could prove to be the most significant political event since powerful figures in ZANU PF tried to block Mugabe's plans to appoint Mujuru as the party and second vice president in 2004, the same situation could be repeated before next year's congress.

Political commentator and journalist Itai Dzamara told SW Radio Africa on Monday that to the casual observer, ZANU PF may seem like a monolithic, united entity while in reality it is divided along deep-rooted factional lines.

There are reports the party warring factions are also divided along social, economic, political and military affairs, with others calling for security sector reforms within Mugabe's trusted junta.

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