28 March 2014

Zimbabwe: Zanu-PF Succession War Intensifies in Midlands

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

ZANU PF's internecine succession battle between factions belonging to Vice-President Joice Mujuru and Justice minister Emmerson Mnangagwa, fuelled by the disputed and chaotic provincial elections last year, is simmering over again as rival camps renew infighting ahead of the party's elective congress in December.

The power struggle this week took centre stage in the politburo on Wednesday where it was resolved national commissar Webster Shamu should go and investigate the outbreak of clashes in the Midlands to restore order in the province. Sources said three weeks ago Shamu went to the Midlands in a bid to sort out the situation but instead left the conflict further intensifying.

"Shamu came to the Midlands province three weeks ago but out of a possible 171 members who should constitute the provincial executive only 15 attended, while the rest were war collaborators and general members of the party bused in from Shurugwi and Zvishavane by those aligned to the Mujuru faction," said a Zanu PF politburo official.

"However, he went on to impose 25 other members into the executive, a move that was rejected by those present because it was an effort to remove those elected by the province to bolster the Mujuru camp."

In an interview yesterday, Zanu PF national spokesperson Rugare Gumbo confirmed Shamu has been tasked to investigate issues bedevilling the Midlands provincial executive. "It is true that the politburo deliberated on the Midlands provincial issue where the problems of people trying to be smuggled into the executive have been going on for some time now," Gumbo said.

"The politburo wants Shamu to bring a report of who should constitute the provincial executive and who should not be part of it, and that can only be done if a thorough investigation takes place."

Mujuru and Mnangagwa are reportedly battling to control provinces in a cutthoat race to succeed the increasingly frail Mugabe who turned 90 last month. The provincial executives are crucial in the succession battle as the structures will play a pivotal role in choosing members of the presidium at congress.

Recently Zanu PF Midlands provincial members aligned to Mnangagwa's faction told this newspaper the Midlands would remain unmanageable until irregularities that marred the disputed provincial elections held in November last year -- which saw party bigwigs bitterly clashing in public -- were resolved.

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