THE Zanu PF Politburo has ordered its errant officials to desist from campaigning for leadership positions ahead of next month’s root and branch shake-up which has triggered fierce jostling among cadres.
Politburo sources told NewZimbabwe.com Sunday that the ruling party, in an effort to halt the vicious catfights that have erupted in the run up to crucial internal elections to decide the new leadership in various structures of the party, the highest decision making organ resolved to issue a stern warning to those engaging in premature campaigns and threaten to defy those that would defy the order.
“The Politburo impressed on members that they were not yet allowed to campaign for the various posts but we all know that will not happen, people are mischievous,” one source who attended the meeting said.
“Everyone was warned to wait for approval to go ahead otherwise doing so under the current conditions could destabilise the party,” the source said.
Zanu PF’s restructuring exercise is in preparation for its elective congress next year and is meant to choose the leadership that would steer it towards the 2023 general elections.
Factionalism is already at boiling point in Mashonaland Central where Energy Minister Zhemu Soda is being accused of having hired gangs to threaten members so they vote for his ally Kazembe Kazembe against former Education Minister Lazarus Dokora.
The same is happening in other provinces.
Addressing journalists after the politburo meeting on Saturday night, Zanu PF acting national political commissar Patrick Chinamasa said party members who dare defy they order will be barred from contesting for positions.
He said jostling of positions within the party was disrupting its drive to mobilise five million supporters ahead of the 2023 elections.
Chinamasa, who has been doing the thankless firefighting job in Zanu PF, has previously banned provinces from conducting co-options to fill in vacant provincial and district positions, following indications that cherry picking of members was widening the rifts within the party.
On Saturday, he said the party’s restructuring exercise, aimed at addressing leadership issues at lower structures, was in progress at branch levels throughout the country.
“The politburo also directed that until the central committee meets and declares 2023 election campaigns open, comrades must respect sitting party MPS and stop campaigning as if there were vacancies,” Chinamasa said
“They are free to campaign where there are vacancies. We also gave a report to inform the politburo where these vacancies are. But where there are sitting MPs we are saying those who are aspiring to stand in for 2023, the time is not yet ripe. If they continue to disturb and undermine sitting MPs, we will not hesitate to disqualify them from contesting come 2023. The focus at the moment should be on membership mobilisation. The task before us is to grow our membership to five million and not to jockey for positions which are occupied anyway.”
Elections within the ruling Zanu PF have often been characterised by violence, threats and accusations of vote buying as members jostle for the usually influential and financially rewarding posts. – Newzim