Zanu PF frets over infighting

Source: Zanu PF frets over infighting – NewsDay Zimbabwe

ZANU PF bigwigs are expected to meet today for a politburo meeting amid reports of worsening infighting that has rocked the party’s restructuring exercise and protests against senior leaders.

Protests marred some provincial meetings over the weekend, with a group of “hired” protesters besieging the venue of a meeting in Chinhoyi baying for the Information deputy minister Kindness Paradza’s and Langton Mabhanga’s blood.

Paradza confirmed the protests yesterday, but accused some party members of hiring the picketers from Mhangura and Chegutu to  protest against his failure to hold elections in one of the districts.

Sources also said that at least 80 vehicles besieged the venue at Chinhoyi University of Technology, where the Zanu PF Mashonaland West provincial co-ordinating committee was meeting in support of Vengai Musengi and Mary Mliswa-Chikoka.

Musengi is a former provincial youth chairperson and is running for provincial chairmanship against Mliswa-Chikoka, Paradza and incumbent Abiel Mujeri.

The supporters were reportedly joined by people from Mhangura, who were protesting against Paradza’s decision to impose Misheck Paradzanwa as the district chairperson for Mhangura 1 district.

Paradza is the legislator for Makonde constituency.

Paradza yesterday said the protests were staged by a single district in Mhangura, where the party did not hold district elections because “they were not well-organised”.

There were claims that the protesters were hired by James Masango, who was contesting for the Mhangura 1 district post against Paradzanwa.

“It was just a handful of people hired from Mhangura mine. It’s only one district out of 31 party districts and we told them we will not hold elections there until they get organised,” Paradza said.

“The person who is causing (the disturbances) contested as an independent and lost, but wants to rejoin the party. Instead of following procedures and writing a letter, he thinks he can manipulate the party systems.

“He hired these people to destabilise the party and was joined yesterday by Musengi, who is contesting for the provincial chairmanship and the idea was to try and discredit me.”

Masango yesterday said he was not aware of what happened at the weekend, adding that he had just heard about the protests and did not know who organised them.

Politburo member and former provincial chairperson, Justice minister Ziyambi Ziyambi addressed the restive activists who, however, failed to state their case.

The protests follow the attack on Transport deputy minister Mike Madiro, who is also the Manicaland provincial chairperson, by party youths recently while his deputy Dorothy Mabika was also assaulted for the second time on Saturday.

Weeks after his vehicle was stoned by suspected Zanu PF supporters, Madiro on Sunday told a provincial meeting in Mutare that the increase in attacks on senior party officials was worrying.

“It is unfortunate that my deputy was attacked at Chakohwa (on Saturday). This is the second time she has been attacked. I thought people were going to repent after some of them were arrested for attacking me,” he said.

On reports of violence by suspected Zanu PF activists across the country, the ruling party spokesperson Christopher Mutsvangwa said such cases were handled by the police.

“That is an issue for the police,” he said yesterday.

“Violence is violence and it does not matter who the perpetrator is. It’s like you witness a crime and then call relatives of that person to say your relative has committed this crime when it is clear it’s a crime and it is the duty of the police to deal with that.”

He added: “It’s clearly a case of violence and you can ask the police how they are dealing with it. This is not a party issue, but just malfeasance by an individual.”

Zanu PF goes for its provincial elections before the end of the year after receiving curriculum vitaes from prospective candidates over the weekend, with observers predicting a surge in violence as rival factions try to take charge of the structures.

Fights have been reported in Midlands, Mashonaland Central, Harare and other provinces, where campaigning is ongoing.