Zimbabwean ruling party on fire




The view of Harare from my room at the Rainbow Towers Hotel. The tall building to right (about 300 m away) is the headquarters of the ruling party, Zanu PF.

HARARE – President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s ruling Zanu-PF party is battling a raging factional war that threatens to rip it apart.

As the fire rages out of control, Patrick Chinamasa, the Zanu-PF acting commissar, has been forced to stop the filling of vacant positions following revelations that the process has sparked serious infighting, a document obtained by The Standard shows.

In a circular to provincial structures obtained by this publication dated August 3, Chinamasa ordered an end to co-options, saying the on-going party restructuring exercise would put to rest the issue of vacant posts.

He said the cherry-picking of members to fill in vacant positions was no longer necessary since provincial elections would be held soon.

Chinamasa said only the commissariat department had the right to approve cooption of members.

“It has come to the attention of the department that some provinces are conducting co-options to fill in vacant posts in their branches, districts and provincial executive committees,” reads part of the circular.

“Provinces are aware that the party is currently conducting a restructuring exercise, which should usher in new leadership for the same organs by October 2021.

“This restructuring exercise will naturally redress the issue of vacant posts.

“Provinces are, therefore, prohibited from carrying out co-options and VONC in any of the above-mentioned party organs.”

Top party provincial executive members have been co-opting members by putting their allies in key decision-making positions.

Last month Mashonaland Central provincial chairman Kazembe Kazembe, who is facing stiff competition from James Makamba, Lazarus Dokora, Sam Parirenyatwa, Monica Mavhunga and Tafadzwa Musarara for the chairmanship, sparked an uproar after he made four co-options — promoting his allies to key decision making positions.

In the same month, in Mashonaland West province, Justice minister and Zvimba West legislator Ziyambi Ziyambi’s imposition of Abia Mujere as the provincial chair reportedly triggered tension and objections within the ruling party, which prompted Chinamasa to intervene to prevent the situation from getting out of hand.

A faction linked to Mashonaland West Provincial Affairs minister Mary MliswaChikoka reportedly threatened violence in a bid to stop Mujere from taking over the post.

Co-options have been a trend in most provinces.

Chinamasa added: “In respect of the above, it is directed that all co-options and VONC conducted from April 2021, which marked the commencement of the current restructuring exercise to December 2021 are null and void.”

Although the order is targeting branch and provincial executive committees, The Standard was informed that DCC structures were posing nightmares for the party.

There have been reports that Mnangagwa and his deputy Constantino Chiwenga are battling to control the structures largely considered as the “king-maker” in the party.

Mnangagwa and Chiwenga are said to be sweating to control the DCCs, which were banned by the late former president Robert Mugabe in 2014 on allegations that they were divisive.

The structures had become the centre of internal fights between Mnangagwa and former vice-president Joice Mujuru in the race to succeed Mugabe.

Mnangagwa only reintroduced the organs last year, but the reintroduction of the structures has only served to deepen the problems in the ruling party.

According to the Zanu-PF constitution, DCCs can also potentially be mobilised to call for an extraordinary congress to elect a new party leader.

Source – the standard