Zanu PF chaos: Mutasa breathes fire

HARARE - President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF is teetering on the brink of collapse in Manicaland province after the party yesterday overwhelmingly voted to have the provincial structure, which is embroiled in corruption and factionalism, to be dissolved.

The turbulence in the former ruling party, not only in Manicaland but across other provinces, has left the former guerrilla movement reeling and disintegrating right before a crunch election which could be held as early as end of June.

Informed sources told the Daily News that a fire-fighting meeting in Mutare agreed that the provincial executive should be dissolved since it was failing to further the interests of the party.

“The view of the majority was that the province should be dissolved because it has failed to run the province. I can assure you that it is going to be dissolved. Members of the province indicated that they are even prepared to resign,” said a source within Zanu PF who attended yesterday’s meeting.

At last week’s politburo meeting, Zanu PF deferred announcing guidelines for primary elections as in-fighting took centre stage, forcing Mugabe to dispatch a special team led by national chairperson Simon Khaya Moyo to probe in-fighting in the troubled province of Manicaland.

Khaya Moyo yesterday said his team would make its presentations to the party tomorrow.

He refused to shed more light.

In Manicaland, Madiro and Zanu PF women’s league chairperson Oppah Muchinguri are up against Mutasa, who is the fourth most powerful person in Zanu PF. Sources said the move to dissolve the provincial executive would strengthen Mutasa’s bid to pack the provincial structure with his own loyalists.

Although Mutasa refused to speak on the matter yesterday, sources in the party said he proved at the meeting that he was the most senior politician in the province, which Zanu PF is losing to the MDC.

“They want to set up an interim committee and co-opt many people, including war veterans who will work for the party ahead of elections. Obviously, those in court like Madiro are ineffectual and they should be replaced,” said a source close to Mutasa.

The in-fighting raises questions about Mugabe and Zanu PF’s preparedness for an election likely to be the hardest fought since independence from Britain 1980.

Insiders say the Manicaland chaos is just a tip of the iceberg in Mugabe’s crisis-torn party amid indications that the party’s structures across the country are in disarray before a do-or-die election that insiders fear could consign the liberation war movement into the dustbin of history.

They say Manicaland province is simply turning into the epicentre of the unfolding tsunami which has seen most provinces struggling to keep a united front that Mugabe badly needs to beat Tsvangirai without resorting to violence and rigging.

The insiders say the situation in Manicaland mirrors the national picture, with Zanu PF embroiled in massive in-fighting caused by factionalism which has its roots in the war to succeed Mugabe, who at 89 could be contesting his last election.

In a veiled admission that all was not well within the party, the politburo last week unilaterally demoted its Bulawayo provincial chairperson Killian Sibanda to the position of deputy chairperson with Callistus Ndlovu taking over as provincial boss.

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