via Close battle expected from ZANU PF elections | SW Radio Africa by Tichaona Sibanda on Friday, November 29, 2013
In the bitter struggle for succession, the Politburo appears to be backing Vice President Joice Mujuru over her rival Emmerson Mnangagwa
Elections in the remaining seven provinces of ZANU PF indicate the ‘two horse race’ for President Robert Mugabe’s successor is too close to call.
Already Vice President Joice Mujuru has taken a lead in the bitter battle with party stalwart Emmerson Mnangagwa to succeed Mugabe.
A special no-holds barred Politburo meeting held last Saturday endorsed results in three provincial elections held earlier this month. The meeting acknowledged that polls in the Midlands, Manicaland and Mashonaland Central provinces were poorly organized.
Despite these misgivings, the elections in the three provinces were won by allies linked to Mujuru. The ZANU PF elections were rocked with chaos following accusations and counter-accusations that the candidates engaged in vote buying and rigging of the polls.
However a senior member of the party said this weekend’s polls will be free and fair and not as disorganized at elections in Manicaland, the Midlands and Mashonaland Central provinces.
Didymus Mutasa, the secretary for administration in the ruling party, told SW Radio Africa the politburo set down clear guidelines of how the elections will be conducted on Saturday.
Asked if the elections might not be chaotic and violent, Mutasa retorted; ‘They can’t be any violence because this is an inter-party exercise and we dont expect people to be fighting each other. We want the best from this election and we have set down rules that will be followed.’
To help maintain peace, the ruling party has sought the help of the police and Central Intelligence Organization to run its elections. In the elections, odds are stacked heavily against Mnangagwa’s faction to do well to overturn Mujuru’s lead.
Out of the seven provinces left, Mujuru needs the support of three provinces to ensure she stands a chance of succeeding the long serving Mugabe.
Any endorsement for a position in the ZANU PF presidium needs to garner the support of at least six out of the country’s 10 provinces. A source in ZANU PF told us Mnangagwa might grab three provinces, Masvingo, Matabeleland North and South, leaving Mujuru to romp home as her allies are expected to win in Mashonaland East and West, Harare and Bulawayo.
‘As things stand Mnangagwa’s back is against the wall, but the guy has tricks, he always bounces back,’ the source said.
Meanwhile last weekend’s politburo meeting had its moments to savour when the Masvingo Provincial Affairs Minister, Kudakwashe Bhasikiti, wept in front of Mugabe as the two rival factions exchanged harsh words.
He was reportedly rebuked by Mnangagwa who told him he should not pretend to be a war veteran as he was merely a mujibha (war collaborator) during the liberation struggle.
Bhasikiti has become the butt of jokes on social media platforms, with many criticizing him for crying and for discussing factionalism and not the revival of the economy.
The heated meeting brought out something that is rarely mentioned even in ZANU PF circles, such as the moments Mujuru kept interrupting Mugabe when he was speaking.
The weekly Zimbabwe Independent reported that it took Transport Minister Obert Mpofu to face up to Mujuru, complaining on the president’s behalf that she was being disrespectful.
There was also the issue of Information Minister Jonathan Moyo admitting he was having a torrid time trying to douse the flames on the succession debate as senior party members are helping fan the fire by granting interviews to journalists.