A ZANU PF faction yesterday moved to distance itself from Masvingo province’s weekend endorsement of Joice Mujuru and Simon Khaya Moyo as the party’s two vice-presidents ahead of the December elective congress.
Masvingo Zanu PF chairperson Killian Gwanetsa at the weekend told the Sunday Mail that the province was sticking “with the winning team” at the congress.
Gwanetsa said the province would also back Zanu PF secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa to take over from Moyo as national chairperson.
The position is a direct challenge to former PF Zapu members still in Zanu PF who insist that the position of chairperson is reserved for them.
However, Psychomotor Activities minister Josaya Hungwe yesterday poured cold water on Gwanetsa’s announcement.
He said Masvingo province was yet to deliberate on its nominations as per tradition.
“We were actually surprised to see it [the proposed elevation of the two] in the newspaper,” Hungwe said. “It was news to some of us here because we never met to come up with that position as Zanu PF Masvingo.
“We need to sit down and come up with a resolution. But as of now, we have not yet sat.
“Let me make it categorically clear that those were Gwanetsa’s personal views and not those of the party here.”
Hungwe, who is believed to belong to a faction linked to Justice minister Emmerson Mnangagwa, said he suspected Gwanetsa was up to no good.
“If it is to be done [provinces’ position on the matter], the time will come,” he said. “All party wings, be it women, youths, among others, have to be consulted so that we move the motion as a party. We are actually demanding to know how Gwanetsa came up with that position.”
Zanu PF Women’s League national secretary Shuvai Mahofa accused Gwanetsa of pursuing factional interests. The provincial chairperson is reportedly in Mujuru’s camp.
“We do not agree with Gwanetsa. That was his view, but not supported by the party in Masvingo,” Mahofa said. “We were not involved. We never met to come up with that position. He just thought about his faction, which is what the President [Robert Mugabe] has been castigating.
“He should never say Zanu PF Masvingo came up with the position. He is someone with his own narrow interests, but trying to use the party in Masvingo.”
Gwanetsa could not comment on the matter yesterday, saying he was out of town.
But sources in the party said he was trying to pre-empt elements opposed to Mujuru in the province.
In throwing the province’s weight behind Mujuru and Moyo, Gwanetsa said this was necessary for continuity in the party.
“Why would we want to change a winning team? This is the very team that took us from the doldrums of an inclusive government and we are certain that they are doing a splendid job,” he was quoted as saying. “As a province, we are strongly against the leadership of President Mugabe along with his second-in-command, Amai Mujuru.
“For the post of second vice-president, we prefer to have our national chairman taking over, while Mutasa should be elevated to the national chairmanship post.”
Zanu PF infighting intensified ahead of the conferences for the youth and women’s leagues in the past two weeks and Mugabe has expressed anger over the use of money in the leadership tussle.