via Mugabe to intervene as ZANU PF cancels divisive provincial elections | SW Radio Africa by Mthulisi Mathuthu November 19, 2013
ZANU PF on Monday canceled this weekend’s provincial elections to pave way for an emergency politburo meeting, in which Robert Mugabe is set to intervene in the factional fighting threatening to destroy his party.
According to a Tuesday NewsDay report, ZANU PF national chairman Simon Khaya Moyo said a new date for the elections will be decided at the politburo meeting scheduled for Saturday.
This development follows public quarrelling by Mugabe’s loyalists over the results of the Mashonaland Central, Midlands and Manicaland elections which were held two weeks back and were reportedly marred by rigging and vote buying.
This weekend’s politburo meeting is seen as timed to coincide with Mugabe’s return from Asia on Friday.
Mugabe flew out of the country last Wednesday to attend his daughter Bona’s graduation in Singapore and an Arab-African Summit in Kuwait.
Prior to his departure Mugabe had tried to solve the squabbling over the election results but as soon as he had flown out, his loyalists were at each other throats and trading accusations.
Presidential spokesperson George Charamba set the ball rolling by suggesting that the results for Mashonaland Central were null and void.
Charamba, claiming to speak on behalf of Mugabe, said the ZANU PF politburo had not yet received the Mashonaland results sparking reactions from senior party members who accused him of ‘jumping the gun’.
Analysts this week blamed Mugabe for deliberately creating a crisis in his absence to afford himself an opportunity to play the ‘unifier’ on his return. NewsDay quoted political analyst Dumisani Nkomo saying the whole drama around the provincial elections was ‘arithmetic at play’.
SW Radio Africa’s correspondent, Simon Muchemwa said while the saga confirmed ZANU PF’s reliance on rigging, it also provided Mugabe the opportunity to dictate the direction of the party.
ZANU PF goes into an annual conference this December where representatives elected in provincial elections will be confirmed. These provincial leaders will play a crucial role at next year’s elective congress where Mugabe’s successor is set to emerge.
The current squabbles are seen as part of succession battles between two known factions led by vice president Joice Mujuru and justice minister Emmerson Mnangagwa.
But according to analysts Mugabe may seize the moment to tame both factions by dictating who should be elected.