Sunday, 22 November 2020

ZANU PF HEAVYWEIGHTS TUSSLE FOR POSITIONS AS TENSIONS RISE

 POLITICAL temperatures remain high in Zanu PF as party bigwigs jostle to lead the former liberation movement’s provincial structures, the Daily News On Sunday reports.

 The polls for the influential positions will take place soon after the pending and keenly-awaited district co-ordinating committee (DCC) elections have been completed.

Speaking to the Daily News on Sunday yesterday, acting Zanu PF spokesperson Patrick Chinamasa cautioned party heavyweights against launching their campaigns now for the positions.

“That decision (election of provincial chairpersons) will be taken after the completion of the DCC elections. I will answer that question on the provincial chairpersons after the DCC elections. One step at a time and for now all efforts are on DCCs,” he said.

This comes as the countdown to the highly-divisive DCC elections has been marred by allegations of dirty money changing hands — amid unproven claims that remnants of the party’s vanquished Generation 40 (G40) faction are burning the midnight oil to influence the outcome of the polls, in an alleged bid to engineer their political comeback.

 Amid the fierce tussling over the DCCs, Zanu PF insiders told the Daily News On Sunday yesterday that ambitious bigwigs were fighting to influence the outcome of the internal polls which, when fully constituted, would elect the ruling party’s provincial executives.

In Mashonaland Central, current provincial chairperson Kazembe Kazembe was said to be under pressure from several party officials — including Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA) provincial

 chairperson Sam Parirenyatwa and telecommunications mogul James Makamba, who is back in the country after spending years living in self-imposed exile in neighbouring South Africa.

So intense is the heat on Kazembe that war veterans in the province have accused him of allegedly being sympathetic to G40 members. In a letter leaked to the provincial leadership, including politburo members, the war veterans demanded a probe against Kazembe and other senior members who stand accused of working to bring back G40 elements.

The ex-combatants also accused Kazembe and others of liaising with the ruling party’s national headquarters without the mandate of the province.

“We understand there is an ill constituted and unsanctioned team of provincial members of our party which went to Zanu PF HQ and misrepresented themselves that they had been sent by the province to clean out G40 elements from our province.

“The first secretary and president had met provincial chairpersons on the 12th October 2020 and advised them to ensure clean members participate in the DCC elections.

“A well-constituted team was then supposed to carry out the directive from the president. However, we understand that about four members aligned to one of the factions in the province decided to carry out the mission themselves for their own benefit,” the war vets said in their letter.

The war veterans further alleged that the team which went to the national headquarters had removed many ‘‘deserving’’ names and replaced them with those who were allegedly aligned to the G40.

“Consequently genuine and deserving party members were corruptly and unfairly removed from the list, leaving well-known G40 members to participate. “These have remained link persons of the exiled G40 kingpins, yet they are left to participate in the DCC elections against the directive from the president,” the former freedom fighters further claimed. “In the interest of the party, we request that further investigations be carried out and disciplinary action be taken in line with our constitution.

“May I also remind you of our complaint against the unfair and uncalled for removal of war veterans from the provincial leadership chat group, whose audio evidence was given to you by the undersigned. “We wait to be apprised of the outcome of the investigations and follow up action,” they added.

Kazembe was not reachable for comment. Other Zanu PF sources also told the Daily News On Sunday that in Mashonaland West, the incumbent chairperson Ziyambi Ziyambi was also facing a stiff challenge — ahead of the elections to choose the new provincial executive.

 Ziyambi, who is also the current Justice minister, is said to be facing competition from Provincial Affairs minister Mary Mliswa-Chikoka and youth league chairperson Vengai Musengi.

“The battle in Mashonaland West is not only about DCCs, because interested parties have their eyes on the bigger picture. “The faction that wins the most influential position in these elections will determine who becomes the provincial chairperson.

“That is why Mliswa has a keen interest in the DCCs. She has plans to challenge Ziyambi. Now she is in conflict with Musengi because they are both eyeing the same position. “Their ambitions have made life difficult for the chairman who is now fighting on two fronts,” a provincial executive member said.

On the other hand, DCC elections in Masvingo have all but become a battle for supremacy between chairperson Ezra Chadzamira, former chairperson Paradzai Chakona and Bikita West MP Elias Musakwa.

In Mashonaland East, former deputy minister of Transport Michael Madanha is mounting a concerted bid to dethrone the current chairperson Biggie Matiza.

In Harare province, Godwills Masimirembwa faces a serious challenge from perennial provincial chairperson aspirants Justice Zvandasara and Godwin Gomwe.

Speaking in an interview with the Daily News on Sunday, Masimirembwa brushed aside claims that

 some bigwigs in the province were already pitching bids for the provincial chairperson elections.

“There are no camps or factions in Harare Province. We are united and solidly behind President (Emmerson) Mnangagwa. We are currently busy with branch elections.

Thereafter, we will proceed to district elections. “The provincial executive is united and focused on the task at hand, which is to restructure the party at cell, branch and district levels — as directed by the national commissariat.

“We cannot afford to be divided at the moment. We want to reclaim all constituencies from the opposition,” Masimirembwa said.

This comes as Vice President Constantino Chiwenga has warned Zanu PF bigwigs against namedropping and fuelling factionalism in the ruling party. Addressing a special Zanu PF Mashonaland East provincial coordinating committee (PCC) meeting in Marondera recently — which was also attended by Mnangagwa — Chiwenga spoke strongly against factionalism, saying he and  Mnangagwa were inseparable.

“Let us unite as we prepare for a resounding victory come the 2023 harmonised elections with our flagship, none other than the president of the Republic of Zimbabwe, Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa.

“He will be there and those who dream otherwise must realise that it was just but a dream after all,” he told the gathered Zanu PF bigwigs.

“There is no room for factionalism at any level in the party. We are a party that cannot be undermined by being defined in the confines of individuals.

“I repeat, no to factionalism in the party. Those engaging in factionalism and name dropping are on a selfish, lonely and self-destructive path.

“We are one and we shall remain one. Hapana kuti uyu ndinomuda, uyu handimudi. (You cannot choose which leader to follow or not to follow),” Chiwenga told the meeting further.   Daily News

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