HARARE - The Zanu PF Masvingo Province is deeply divided on the key decision to endorse the re-election of the entire party presidium at the crucial elective congress in December.
Provincial chairman Callisto Gwanetsa, who endorses the entire presidium, must table the province’s position ahead of the congress within the next three months.
It appears Gwanetsa or his challengers who want only President Robert Mugabe endorsed and the rest of the presidium challenged, will only know after congress if they will have their
Gwanetsa, a loyalist of the Vice President Joice Mujuru faction and Chiredzi South legislator, insists that the Masvingo executive has endorsed the entire presidium, but former chairman Daniel Shumba and Josiah Hungwe, the Psychomotor minister, both believed to be loyal to the rival Emmerson Mnangagwa faction, have rejected the claim, saying it was Gwanetsa’s personal line-up.
Shumba said Gwanetsa was trying to jump the gun, and the provincial coordinating committee (PCC) never held a meeting as Zanu PF in the province over the matter, nor was there any
circular to that effect.
The retired colonel Shumba says the resolution is “a figment of Gwanetsa’s imagination”, and said he was sure the Zanu PF headquarters would take action to rein-in his transient
“It is clear that we have at play here a case of a ventriloquist,” Shumba told the Daily News.
“I cannot be bound by one’s shenanigans, when the party’s PCC meetings have never discussed such an issue.”
What has widened ructions is Gwanetsa’s claim that Masvingo Province would second Didymus Mutasa, the secretary for administration, to become national chairman, but he seems to be
backtracking after being challenged by his province.
“What we have done is to endorse the presidium and I am only hearing from the press that we went on to endorse the secretary for administration to become national chairman. We are
yet to meet over that,” Gwanetsa told the Daily News this week, adding he was speaking in his personal capacity.
Shumba said Gwanetsa cannot claim to be“speaking in his personal capacity, if he knows what being a provincial chairman represents.”
“His mistaken belief that he can do whatever he wants must be brought to check,” Shumba said.
“Zanu PF has rules and regulations that even he is bound to. I also speak on my own behalf, given that what’s good for the goose is good for the gander.”
It’s widely believed that the rival factions will go to congress with differing positions if they fail to reach an amicable solution. But neither faction has hinted at compromise, and the solutions floated in the media by the rival sides would require concessions that neither side appears willing to make.
Gwanetsa insists in endorsing the entire presidium, and Shumba and Hungwe are equally adamant about retaining only the president and first secretary.
It is unlikely that Gwanetsa would abandon his campaign promise and perhaps even less likely that the Mnangagwa-controlled Masvingo Province would approve the endorsement of a presidium largely made up of its rivals in the Mujuru camp, from second secretary Mujuru herself, Mutasa and chairman Simon Khaya Moyo, said to be eyeing the second secretary post.
If Gwanetsa wins, his rivals might kick the can down the road until congress, officials say, but lodge rancourous objections at congress, a move that could be anathema to the party.
Insiders are pessimistic about a pre-congress compromise, noting that the race has been both personal and factional and believes the losing side is more likely to be confrontational than conciliatory.
“It’s not just the politicians either,” a senior provincial official said.
“The Masvingo people are evenly divided and have strong feelings on this.”
The dialogue suggests that achieving even a trivial bargain would be a feat.
As chairman, Gwanetsa is facing a Mnangwagwa-controlled executive whose leaders oppose his agenda.
Many provincial officials were unhappy with Gwanetsa, but he has not abandoned his proposal to endorse the current presidium.