Source: Cars divide ZANU-PF | The Financial Gazette February 9, 2017
WARRING factions in the ruling party are burning the midnight oil to gain control of the 365 off-road vehicles and 10 buses acquired by ZANU-PF last year at a cost of about US$20 million in order to resource their proxies as they prepare for the ultimate battle in the race to succeed President Robert Mugabe.
The Financial Gazette can report that the succession wrangles between Generation 40 (G40) and Team Lacoste — the two factions in ZANU-PF — have shifted towards the allocation of party resources with strategic portfolios such as that for administration, finance and transport taking the centre stage.
As the 2018 elections draw closer, there is a strong feeling within the factions that whoever would gain control of Parliament and local authorities between them stands a good chance of swinging the succession pendulum in their favour.
Because most of the ZANU-PF cadres are thin on funding after nearly two decades of an economic recession, strategists on both sides of the factional divide have reasoned that the best way to oil their respective machineries would be to direct party resources towards their proxies so that they can mobilise supporters on the ground.
Both camps are now busy identifying candidates to take part in party primaries for the National Assembly and local authorities to be held early next year. Presently, there are manoeuvres among the key power brokers in ZANU-PF to ensure that their preferred candidates win the primaries so that they could be allocated party vehicles for use in advancing their factional agendas.
Thirty of the vehicles were dispatched to the party’s 10 provinces last month for allocation to chairpersons of the party’s three wings — the main wing, the Women’s League and the Youth League.
Each wing leader will be issued with a car to allow them to move around their provinces, conducting party business.
Provinces will get a bus each for use to transport party officials and supporters.
More vehicles would be given to those who would have emerged victorious in the party’s primary elections for both Parliament and local authorities.
As soon as the cars arrived in the provinces, pandemonium broke out in Masvingo and the Midlands provinces — bastions of support for Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, whom Team Lacoste would want to succeed the incumbent who is now in the twilight of his political career.
President Mugabe turns 93 on February 21.
Team Lacoste kicked out Amasa Nenjana from the provincial chair of Masvingo last week and recalled Ezra Chadzamira while they brought in former deputy provincial chairman, Daniel Mackenzie Ncube to replace Joram Gumbo as head of the Midlands province.
Former Midlands chairman, Kizito Chivamba, who was suspended early last year, was prevented from resuming his duties because he was unwell.
Team Lacoste had lost control of Masvingo and the Midlands to their G40 rivals, but they have since regained them.
The faction is now plotting ways of smuggling back Joel Biggie Matiza in Mashonaland East province but could face a tricky situation because the camp could easily be overwhelmed by G40 there.
Team Lacoste members are also believed to be gunning for co-opted provincial Youth and Women’s League chairpersons, Nobert Ndaarombe and Veronica Makonese, respectively.
Still, G40 has an upper hand in most provinces and organs of the party where it succeeded in stampeding Mnangagwa’s allies out over the last two years.
To even things out, Team Lacoste is calling for elections in provinces that do not have substantive chairpersons for all the three wings although it is highly unlikely that there could be fresh elections, especially given G40’s vehement resistance.
ZANU-PF national secretary for transport, Oppah Muchinguri, said she had not received reports of squabbles over the vehicles.
“The cars are being distributed according to guidelines set out by the Politburo. We follow those guidelines and nothing else. If there are problems related to their use in the provinces, then we are yet to hear about them,” she said.
According to the guidelines, the vehicles will be handed over to the Provincial Executive Committee, which will then make respective allocations.
Nenjana refused to respond to questions when contacted by the Financial Gazette last Friday, shouting: “That has nothing to do with you,” over the phone.
When asked if it is true that the vehicles were at the centre of the catfight in Masvingo, Ndaarombe simply said: “Yes, the circumstances are not clear.”
He refused to say anything more, referring further questions to provincial political commissar, Jeppy Jaboon.
Jaboon, who is linked to G40, said he was not personally involved in the vehicles duel.
“It’s some of my colleagues (who are fighting for cars). I am still using the one which was issued to me during the 2013 election campaign. I can use that to access my constituency and do my commissariat work,” said the Bikita South Member of Parliament.
Makonese could not be reached for comment.
Politburo member and Masvingo Provincial Affairs Minister, Shuvai Mahofa, who was publicly accused by Nenjana, Makonese and Ndaarombe of instigating the former’s removal along with Psychomotor Minister, Josiah Hungwe, refused to entertain the Financial Gazette.
“I don’t want to talk to newspapers,” she said before terminating the call.
Hungwe was not responding to calls on his mobile phone this week.
Jorum Gumbo, the most senior ZANU-PF member in the Midlands province, said while it was possible that there could have been fights over control of the vehicles, such reports did not play a part in the province’s decision to co-opt Mackenzie Ncube.
Gumbo, believed to be one of those in Mnangagwa’s inner circle, was acting as Midlands chair until last Saturday. He was asked to act after the province resisted Tapiwa Matangaidze’s troubled interim chairmanship.
“I was acting chairman of the province when the Politburo cleared Chivamba and the other two chairmen (Chadzamira and Matiza). By virtue of the fact that they were cleared, we were given an opportunity to do what we could do as a province. We were free to choose the leadership we wanted and it was unanimously agreed that Ncube must take over and that is totally in order and not in violation of anything so I do not know why people should start making up stories. It is purely on this basis that the province arrived at that decision,” Gumbo said.
Mackenzie Ncube was not responding to calls on his mobile phone this week. He also did not respond to messages sent to him.