FORMER central bank governor Gideon Gono, who is expected to take up a seat in the Senate on a Zanu PF ticket, has refused to be billeted with any of the factions in the bitterly fractured party.
Zanu PF is divided over the succession of President Robert Mugabe with the principal rival groups lining up behind Vice-President Joice Mujuru and Justice Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Gono, reportedly a close confidante and financial adviser to the First Family, was influential in Zanu PF during his ten-year tenure at the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe and is set to assume an active role in the ruling party after leaving the central bank last December.
He was recommended by Manicaland province to take up the Senate seat left vacant following the death of nationalist and war hero Kumbirai Kangai in August last year.
Speaking Saturday at a memorial service for Kangai held at Glen Forest in Harare, Gono made clear that he would not be involved in the ruling party's factional fights.
Present at the service were top Mujuru allies Rugare Gumbo and Didymus Mutasa.
"I did not come here as a member of a certain faction. Hapana mafactions pano. VaGono havasi vefaction," he said.
"I have been longing to speak publicly; the last time I spoke publicly was when I was still the RBZ governor and I want to emphasise that I belong only to President Mugabe's faction and Zanu PF political party in its totality.
"Hatina kuuya pano tichiti uyu ndeuyu achazorwisa uyu; ngatiite zvinhu zvinovaka (we have not gathered to prepare for fights, let us focus on development)."
Mutasa claimed there were attempts to block Gono from the Senate but vowed that these would be overcome.
"We are fully behind you VaGono; the people of Buhera need you," said the Zanu PF secretary for administration and presidential affairs minister.
"Pane makwikwi ari mumusangano mazuva ano (there is contestation in the party today), with some throwing spanners along the way but we will not rest until you assume the post," he said.
Earlier this month, Mnangagwa, who is the patron of the Midlands Show Society, offered Gono an honorary life membership of the society in what was seen as an attempt to enlist the former governor into his camp.
Gono was also invited to present a lecture on "Indigenisation and the Way Forward" at the Midlands Show this year but failed to attend since he was out of the country.
Meanwhile, Gumbo lamented the collapse of respect for hierarchy in Zanu PF.
"Cde Kangai knew the party protocol," said Gumbo who is the party's national spokesman.
"The problem we have is of newcomers who do not know how the party works; people who just emerge and talk a lot without knowing who are the leaders of the party and how they should be treated.
"During the struggle we learnt that as leaders we should not put personal interests in front. Instead, we should extend the interests of the masses."
War veteran and deputy foreign affairs minister Chris Mutsvangwa recently launched a scathing public attack on Mujuru and Mutasa as the divisions in the party spiralled out of control.