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Zanu PF fights climax


Zanu PF factional fights climaxed on Wednesday with Presidential spokesperson George Charamba and Zanu PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo issuing contradicting statements over the status of Mashonaland Central provincial elections where Luke Mushore was declared the winner.

Moses Matenga/John Nyashanu

The fights also saw Gumbo, in an unprecedented move, directly contradicting President Robert Mugabe.

The discontent simmering within the Zanu PF top brass yesterday started playing out with the appointment of an ad hoc committee chaired by Vice-President Joice Mujuru which includes national chairman Simon Khaya Moyo, secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa and political commissar Webster Shamu to preside over the elections in the remaining provinces.

Charamba was yesterday quoted in the media saying the Zanu PF politburo had not endorsed Mushore’s victory. He went on to say President Mugabe had instructed him: “Tell the media that I have told you that the politburo has not as yet received results from Mashonaland Central Province. Equally, the politburo is still to receive a report which accompanies the same.”

But Gumbo, maintained that results he announced at the party headquarters early this week remained.

“I am the spokesperson of the party and no one else. I announced results and those results stand. Anyone who announces otherwise has vested interests,” Gumbo charged.

“I announced those results after getting information from the national political commissar, Webster Shamu. Anyone who opposes those results has vested interests and wants results to go the other way.”

Losing Mashonaland Central provincial chairman Dickson Mafios immediately fired back, saying the elections had not been transparent.

“If the elections were transparent, they would not have taken the time they did to be announced. Besides, they should not have been announced in Harare. Is Mashonaland Central now an extension of Harare?” Mafios queried.

Gloves are off among Zanu PF heavyweights following sharp differences over the handling of elections in three provinces amid reports that the party presidium was divided over how to proceed with the polls in the remaining seven.

The ad hoc committee will oversee the election process in the seven provinces as divisions have ripped the party apart through factions — one reportedly led by VP Mujuru while the other is led by Justice minister Emmerson Mnangagwa. Both have publicly denied harbouring presidential ambitions.

Fissures were also witnessed in Midlands and Manicaland provinces where VP Mujuru loyalists were announced winners of provincial chairpersons’ posts.

In Midlands, Jason Machaya polled 13 803 votes, defeating his former deputy Larry Mavhima, widely believed to be a Mnangagwa ally, who managed 13 208 votes in elections held early this month.

The polls did not go smoothly as the Mavhima camp, which also disputed the election outcome, has since instituted a $50 million lawsuit against Machaya’s election agent Douglas Kanengoni for allegedly defaming them.

Elections in Manicaland were no different as yet another Mujuru “loyalist” John Mvundura romped to victory after Monica Mutsvangwa, who is reportedly aligned to Mnangagwa, pulled out, citing numerous irregularities.

Both Mavhima and Mutsvangwa could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Khaya-Moyo told journalists yesterday: “Following the challenges observed in the conduct of the Zanu PF provincial elections, an ad hoc committee was appointed to oversee the process in the remaining seven provinces.

“The provincial teams and leaders in these provinces are Ignatius Chombo for Bulawayo, Harare, Sikhanyiso Ndlovu, and Obert Mpofu for Mashonaland East.

Mashonaland West Dzikamai Mavhaire, Nicholas Goche, Masvingo, Matabeleland North has Sidney Sekeramayi and David Parirenyatwa for Matebeleland South.”
Khaya-Moyo, who was flanked by secretary for Information Gumbo and Shamu, refused to take questions.

Gumbo said elections for the rest of the provinces — Bulawayo, Harare, Mashonaland East, Mashonaland West, Masvingo, Matabeleland North and Matabeleland South would be held on November 23.

Political analysts yesterday said the differences were a result of factional fights in Zanu PF.

“The discord we are witnessing is indicative of the deep-rooted factional fights within Zanu PF. The elections are being held on the basis of factionalism and going forward we are likely to witness further wrangles centering on factionalism,” political commentator, Enerst Mudzengi said.

Another analyst who requested anonymity believed Gumbo’s position would prevail.

“I think Gumbo, as a politburo member, is articulating what the politburo agreed upon. He is the party spokesperson and there must have been consensus at a higher level for him to come out and announce those results,” the analyst said.

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