via ZANU PF infighting deepens | SW Radio Africa by Tichaona Sibanda November 8, 2013
An outbreak of public infighting within the ruling ZANU PF has this week exposed how deeply the party is divided in the wake of the recent controversial provincial elections.
The latest infighting and acrimony, sparked by events that took place during the internal poll, has suddenly intensified and each day brings its own drama as analysts warn the festering crisis is tearing the party apart.
The party has in the last fortnight exhibited something rare – exposure of the problems within its structures – where aggrieved members pulled out of provincial elections, citing electoral fraud and lately have taken each other to court over poll malpractices.
Last week it was Monica Mutsvangwa, who blasted the party for presiding over a sham election, and she pulled out of the provincial race against John Mvundura, the eventual winner in Manicaland.
This week in the Midlands province, five top party officials, linked to strongman Emmerson Mnangagwa, filed a $50 million criminal defamation lawsuit against newly re-elected provincial chairman and Midlands Provincial Affairs minister Jason Machaya, a close ally of Vice-President Joice Mujuru.
Both Mnangagwa and Mujuru are leaders of two strong factions that are aiming to take over from President Robert Mugabe.
The daily Newsday newspaper reported on Friday that Machaya’s chief elections agent, Douglas Kanengoni, filed a petition accusing Mnangagwa’s wife Auxillia, former provincial chairman July Moyo, Douglas Tapfuma, Gokwe-Kana MP Owen Ncube and Zhombe MP Mackenzie Ncube of attempting to rig the just-ended party provincial elections in favour of their faction’s preferred candidate, Larry Mavhima.
Machaya, through Kanengoni, demanded that the five be taken to a disciplinary hearing for alleged electoral fraud. But this did not go down well with those in Mnangagwa’s camp who responded by writing to Machaya on Tuesday demanding $50 million defamation charges, claiming that the allegations raised in his agent’s petition had the potential of destroying their political careers.
Political commentator Itai Dzamara said the major implication of such open disagreements is that it threatens the fortunes of the party because they are where they are today because of their ability to forge forward together.
‘ZANU PF has been able to dominate the political scene as one family since 1980 but now they are a divided family as people anticipate the imminent departure of Mugabe from the helm of the party.
‘The differences are as a result of the Mnangagwa-Mujuru factions positioning themselves to take over the reins and the infighting will get worse or bloody if Mugabe fails to deal with the issue delicately,’ Dzamara said.