PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa blew his gasket during a Zanu PF politburo meeting yesterday, warning his errant lieutenants that gossiping, rumour-mongering and petty jealousies would not be tolerated in the party.
The bristling 78-year-old Zanu PF leader also implored his brawling colleagues to respect the former liberation movement’s constitution and work to promote party unity.
This comes as Zanu PF has been hit by fresh chaos and factionalism, with the party’s highly divisive and recently restored district co-ordinating committees (DCCs) now the new centres of ugly internal contestations.
“Comrades, emboldened by our constitution and revolutionary ideology, let us continue entrenching intra-party democracy, unity, peace and harmony as the bedrock upon which we grow and strengthen our party.
“The few pockets of indiscipline displayed by some cadres should be nipped in the bud.
“The party leadership and membership alike must remain focused on mobilising the structures around productive socio-economic activities which will transform the quality of life of our people and lift many out of poverty.
“We cannot afford to be pre-occupied by meetings which merely focus on gossip, rumour-mongering, petty jealousies and unfounded accusations,” Mnangagwa fumed.
“The party is far bigger than individuals. Ukazvinyepera kuisa Zanu PF muhomwe mako unozokaruka wava muhomwe yeZanu PF (You cannot fool yourself into thinking that you own Zanu PF). Party haikwane muhomwe memunhu (The party is bigger than individuals),” he added.
This comes amid reports that the demons of factionalism that gutted the ruling party during the late former president Robert Mugabe’s last few years in power had returned to the ranks of the ex-liberation movement with a vengeance.
It also comes as the highly divisive DCCs are now at the centre of the fresh commotion in the party.
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 Mugabe’s rule — stand accused of usurping the powers of other organs of the ruling party.
Insiders confirmed to the Daily News earlier this week that the DCCs had become “a major headache” in the party — prompting Zanu PF’s national political commissar, Victor Matemadanda, to issue a strong warning recently against the abuse of the structures.
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 council. Any election 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 — where the party and Mnangagwa draw members of the central committee and the politburo from.
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 upcoming 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).
In his speech yesterday, Mnangagwa also said Zanu PF was happy to accommodate senior officials who were defecting from the opposition.
“In our last meeting, I indicated that more senior officials and other personalities from the opposition parties continue to come back home to Zanu PF.
“Since our last meeting, the former spokesperson of MDC … Obert Gutu and veteran trade unionist, former MDC … Senator James Makore joined our revolutionary party.
“Others continue to re-join the party through the provincial levels and wings of the party. I want to also recognise and applaud the party structures for warmly welcoming these new comrades,” Mnangagwa said.
“Zanu PF as a mass party and a revolutionary party stands ready to accommodate all Zimbabweans who wish to join us on the exciting on-going journey of building our great country to achieve Vision 2030,” he added.