The DCCs – which were scrapped in 2012 at the height of Zanu-PF’s factional, tribal and succession wars, in the twilight of the late former president Robert Mugabe’s rule – are accused of usurping the powers of other organs of the ruling party.
Insiders confirmed to the Daily News yesterday that the DCCs had become “a major headache” in the party – prompting Zanu-PF’s national political commissar, Victor Matemadanda, pictured, to issue a stern warning recently against the abuse of the structures.
This comes amid reports that the demons of factionalism that gutted the ruling party during Mugabe’s last few years in power had returned to the ranks of the former liberation movement with a vengeance. In a March 15 circular to Zanu-PF’s provincial and DCC chairpersons, Matemadanda ordered the divisive structures to stop convening all unconstitutional meetings forthwith.
“The commissariat department has noted with great concern the abuse of office by the DCCs through the exercise of power and authority that is not granted to them by the party’s constitution. “This circular is designed and issued to correct and bring to an end all activities and decisions that DCCs mistakenly believe are within their limits of discretion and directs all members of the DCCs to note that with immediate effect no such decisions and activities shall be permitted unless as directed by the commissariat headquarters through the auspices of the provincial political commissar,” he wrote.
Matemadanda also reminded the DCCs that they did not have disciplinary powers and, therefore, “at no time should they undertake disciplinary action against members of the district councils or any lower organs”. “DCCs have no power of co-option and as such, any co-options that were made under the direction or supervision of the DCCs remain unauthorised and invalid.
“DCCs have no power to organise and cause elections of district executive councils. Any elections conducted at the instigation and supervision of the DCCs is null and void. “Removal of district executives through a process of no confidence votes engineered by the DCCs is invalid,” Matemadanda warned.
“DCCs have no power to create own programmes without consultation with, and obtaining prior approval of the provincial political commissar. “All purported campaigns for positions currently held by a sitting MP or local authority councillor or a rural district councillor and or shadow MP are not permitted. “Violations of instructions issued under this circular will not be tolerated and may attract disciplinary action as appropriate,” Matemadanda thundered further.
The DCC structures elect Zanu-PF’s 10 provincial executives – from where the party and President Emmerson Mnangagwa draw members of the central committee and the politburo. The party’s DCCs were disbanded in 2012 after they were deemed to be fanning factionalism during Mnangagwa and former vice president Joice Mujuru’s battles to succeed Mugabe.
The run-up to last year’s DCC polls was also marred by allegations of bribery, factionalism and tribalism – with party wars coming to a head in October when violent youths disrupted the former liberation movement’s primary elections for the Kwekwe Central Parliamentary by-election.
Meanwhile, apart from having to contend with DCC chaos, Zanu-PF sources said the party was also facing fresh problems over “the long overdue” elections for provincial chairmanships. The party’s regional chairpersons lead the provincial co-ordinating committees (PCCs).
Divisions were particularly said to be ravaging five provinces – Harare, Bulawayo, Mashonaland East, Mashonaland West and Mashonaland Central – which are under interim chairpersons, who stand accused of being sources of factional fights. With some PCCs having had interim executives for more than five years, Zanu-PF national spokesperson Simon Khaya Moyo said the party’s restructuring exercise had been stalled by Covid-19.
“You may be aware that even the DCCs have not been inaugurated yet and once we have contained the Covid-19 pandemic the process will continue. “After that, the party will do the provinces. You cannot wake up in the middle of a pandemic and start thinking about restructuring party structures. “All that needs to be done will be concluded once the environment becomes conducive,” Khaya Moyo told the Daily News.
In Mashonaland Central, current provincial chairperson Kazembe Kazembe was said to be under pressure from several party officials – including telecommunications mogul James Makamba, who is back in the country after spending years in self-imposed exile in neighbouring South Africa. Kazembe took over from Dickson Mafios in 2017. Kazembe told the Daily News yesterday that elections would be held soon in the increasingly fractious province.
“Provincial elections for the entire party throughout the 10 provinces, and not just Mashonaland Central, will be held anytime from now and as directed by the national leadership.
“The provincial executive in Mashonaland Central is as old as any other provincial executive in the entire Zanu-PF. So, I don’t understand why some people believe Mash Central is any different. “In any case all the structures in the party except for the DCCs were voted into office around about the same time,” Kazembe told the Daily News.
“Our cells … branches … districts, all the way up are due for elections and the national commissariat will direct us as and when the elections will be held. “All provincial members in Mash Central and all the other provinces were either elected or co-opted in accordance with the constitution,” he added. Other Zanu-PF sources also told the Daily News that in Mashonaland West, incumbent chairperson Ziyambi Ziyambi was also facing a stiff challenge ahead of elections to choose the new provincial executive.
Ziyambi, who is also Justice minister, is said to be facing competition from Provincial Affairs minister Mary Mliswa-Chikoka. In Harare and Bulawayo, on the other hand, Godwills Masimirembwa and Obert Msindo were appointed interim chairpersons respectively, after the dissolution of structures for the two metropolitans in 2019 for allegedly being havens of factionalism.
Masimirembwa is set to be challenged by former Mount Pleasant MP Jason Pasade, Harare South MP Tongai Mnangagwa and land developer Justin Zvandasara. Mashonaland East province, on the other hand, is chaired on an interim basis by Michael Madanha – who replaced the late former Transport minister Joel Biggie Matiza, who succumbed to Covid-19 early this year.
In the twilight of Mugabe’s rule, Generation 40 (G40) kingpins coalesced around the nonagenarian’s erratic wife Grace, resulting in the group being involved in a hammer and tongs tussle with Mnangagwa’s Team Lacoste over Zanu-PF’s still then unresolved succession question. Mugabe subsequently fired Mnangagwa in early November 2017, before he came back to be the country’s new leader following a stunning and widely-supported military coup.