SIMMERING tension has absorbed the ruling Zanu PF in President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s Midlands backyard, stoked by the party’s provincial leadership’s decision to block scheduled disciplinary hearings for his allies who lost in primary elections and tried to canvass protest votes against the winning candidates in the 23 August polls.
In a memo to district coordinating committees and senior provincial members on Monday last week, acting Zanu PF Midlands provincial chairperson Edson Chiherenge notified that disciplinary hearings would be held 6 December.
Part of the memo reads: “All members of the party who were summoned to appear before the Midlands provincial disciplinary committee are directed to report at the Zanu PF provincial offices on (Wednesday) December 6, 2023.”
However, the following day, Chiherenge wrote another memo cancelling the scheduled hearings.
“Please be advised that the acting Midlands provincial chairman has ordered the nullification of all disciplinary processes within the Midlands province. All notices of hearings and prohibition orders issued out are no longer valid,” he wrote.
Sources told The NewsHawks that the directive to block the hearings had come to the Midlands Zanu PF leadership from higher offices at party headquarters in Harare after it was discovered that Mnangagwa’s allies such as Justice Mayor Wadyajena were in the firing line.
Wadyajena, who lost to Flora Buka during the primaries, was placed on suspension after being accused of sabotaging her campaign rallies and canvassing for protest votes.
“The cancelling of the hearings has now sowed seeds of division in the party and people in the structures of the party are agonising. They are saying no one must be bigger than the party,” an impeccable source told The NewsHawks.
“People in the party expected justice to be done on those charged and suspended for indiscipline. The party is being weakened by things like this and the tension at the moment is at its highest levels.”
Other sources highlighted that without any punishment being seen to be imposed on those who erred ahead of the 23 August elections, internal healing of those aggrieved will continue to affect party business in the Midlands.
“All is not well in Zanu PF Midlands. The people are angry and this is now adding to the disgruntlement on candidate selection ahead of the elections where certain comrades were imposed,” another source told The NewsHawks.
In March this year, Mnangagwa’s close allies in his Midlands backyard were exempted from being challenged by other party officials in Zanu PF primary elections ahead of the 23 August elections, in a development that fomented political tension.
These included cabinet minister July Moyo, who was listed as an unopposed candidate for Redcliff constituency; former minister of State in the President’s Office in Charge of Policy Implementation Jorum Gumbo, who went on to represent the ruling party in Mberengwa unopposed as a senator and former State Security minister Owen Ncube, who contested in Gokwe-Kana constituency.
In Kwekwe Central, Energy Ncube, the nephew of former State Security minister Owen “Mudha” Ncube, was imposed as an automatic candidate ahead of former city deputy mayor John Mapuranga who represented the party in last year’s 26 March by-elections and Archbishop Kandros Mugabe, a prominent gold baron who represented the party in the 2018 general polls.
In Chiundura, there was an uproar after accusations of rigging against former Vungu Rural District Council chairperson Celton Charamba, who was initially announced the winner, but political commissar Mike Bimha overturned his victory on the final list made public in Harare. Slemani Kwidini was subsequently declared winner.
In Zhombe constituency there was massive disgruntlement after Mnangagwa’s ally Edmore Samambwa was declared an uncontested candidate despite the fact that several members had forwarded their applications to the provincial leadership expressing interest in contesting at that time.
Samambwa is Mnangagwa’s long-time ally. He was suspended as Midlands Zanu PF youth chairperson in March 2016 for supporting the Mnangagwa faction at a time the camp was battling the G40 faction in the race to succeed the then president Robert Mugabe.
In May, Zanu PF accordingly dispatched two senior party officials, Tino Machakaire and Lovemore Matuke to the Midlands to hold crisis meetings following the political turmoil that has gripped Mnangagwa’s home province ahead of the August general elections.
The mayhem emanated from the holding of controversial primary elections to choose party candidates which were marred by accusations of internal vote rigging. As a result, popular party members fell by the wayside while Mnangagwa’s associates were exempted from the intra-party contestation.
The latest developments in which Mnangagwa’s allies have been pardoned before hearings are therefore worsening the already existing tension in the ruling party in the Midlands province. – News Hawks