A SMALL vegetable garden in Nyatso, Ward 12 in Gokwe-Nembudziya, has been the centre of a political storm in Zanu PF in Midlands province.
The project began at the height of the election campaign ahead of the July 31 harmonised elections in Midlands district of Gokwe where Justice Mayor Wadyajena fiercely contested against Flora Bhuka for a slot to represent the party in Gokwe-Nembudziya in Parliament.
Initially the project had close to 90 followers who were willing to participate, but along the way, some withdrew or were forced to withdraw for fear of being labelled factional players.
“When this project started, people said it was Mayor’s project and others withdrew, but we kept on working and we are now only 38,” said Christine Hunguru, a member of Makunguwo Kubatana Garden.
“Some people have come to sabotage the project saying its Mayor’s project hence others have withdrawn. We are left with only 38 members from close to 90.”
Gokwe-Nembudziya constituency is deeply divided along factional lines with a group aligned to Wadyajena while another group is aligned to Buka.
Village leaders including district chairpersons, and government officials and members of the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO), have been caught in the web of factional fights which have also permeated to government offices at local level.
From the garden, the factions take a step further to the ward level where village heads, councillors and party officials are fighting in the corner of their respective faction leaders.
The infighting was evident when rival factions were in a bus from Harare when a district chairperson conducted a mock election between President Robert Mugabe and Vice-President Joice Mujuru.
This did not go down well with other Zanu PF members who wanted to beat him up for “revolting” against Mugabe.
A lot of fights have been sparked in Gokwe along factional lines with district youth chairperson Eddington Mutirwara confirming while addressing a gathering that he almost assaulted one district chairperson who had claimed that Mujuru had better qualities of being President than Mugabe.
“We want the leadership to look into that matter. When we were coming from Harare for the burial of our hero recently, he said the speech by the VP was powerful hence had qualities of a President. He wanted to conduct a mock election between His Excellency and the Vice-President in a bus and we said no to that,” said Mutirwara.
“I wanted to beat him up because as Zanu PF youths, we don’t want divisions, we don’t want people who fuel divisions in the party. How can you make a mock election in a bus? Are you revolting against the President? Our leaders should address that and deal with this chairman.”
Mutirwara also claimed that his constituency is only remembered for State functions when Mugabe is away on leave.
“We only see Zupco buses when the President is away and there is an acting President,” he said asking why this was so.
The infighting at local level has also incensed Chief Nembudziya who said as a result of the clashes, kidnapping and divisions caused along factional lines, no unsanctioned meetings would be held in the area within his jurisdiction.
“As Chief, I don’t want to hear that there are meetings called for without the knowledge of the authorities. My officers will see to it that this is done and this order is followed. Nembudziya is known even by the President for wrong reasons, including kidnappings. We must stop this,” he said.
Chief Nembudziya threatened to deal with those who go against his order.
From the local level, the fight takes a step further to local parliamentary representatives where Bhuka is said to be part of the group that is allegedly sabotaging the MP’s projects as she bids for a dramatic comeback to reclaim her parliamentary seat come 2018.
There were recent claims in Gokwe-Nembudziya that Bhuka masterminded the alleged “kidnapping” of women from the constituency and coerced them to vote against their will.
Bhuka and Zanu PF national chairman Simon Khaya Moyo dismissed the allegations that there had been any kidnappings in the run-up to the women’s league conference.
But Politburo member Edison Chakanyuka said the issue of kidnappings was real and that he would tell Mugabe.
Gokwe-North officials also complained of the behaviour of government workers in some departments particularly the officials from Ministry of Youth and the President’s Office, among others.
Maybe Mbowa, an official in the party, said she was now afraid of interacting with CIO operatives as their offices have been declared no-go areas.
Other government departments have also been embroiled in fights along factional fights.
The CIO, the Ministry of Youth, the Ministry of Presidential Affairs and other government departments were fingered in the internecine squabbles to succeed Mugabe amid reports that there was a plot to revolt against the veteran leader by some members of the Presidium.
Maybe Mbowa, the party provincial member, said it was now scary to engage CIO members in their offices for fear of being labelled as being aligned to either Wadyajena or the Senator for the area Bhuka.
“This is not the time for parallel structures. How do you organise trips to Mozambique without my knowledge?” she said.
“Honourable, please speak for us at the top. We want to be free to go into CIO offices, but as for me, I no longer go there because I am labelled and suspected of being after something. I don’t know what is causing all that in the ministry of CIOs, maybe the minister is causing that. Please address the issue. We have to be free to get into these offices for us to be able to implement ZimAsset.”
Mbowa said government employees were Zanu PF workers and should be seen to be not working against the party.
While the fight is at a local level, its roots can be traced to serious fights to succeed Mugabe as Wadyajena is said to be aligned to Mnangagwa while Buka is believed to be in the Mujuru camp.
But it is that small unfenced garden that has become centre of a fight that reflects deep-rooted divisions caused by power struggles in Zanu PF.
Wadyajena while addressing supporters said he had heard reports by some attacking the garden project saying it was a “Mayor project” vowing that development would never be stopped for anything in his constituency.
“I hear there are people saying the garden project is Wadyajena’s project. I want to tell you the project will not be stopped by anything. They will talk, but the project will not be stopped,” he said before donating equipment to be used for the project.
Wadyajena said as youths, there were aware of a plot to humiliate First Lady Grace Mugabe by a certain faction in Zanu PF in the event they get into power, but added that would never happen as youths would stand to protect their “mother”.
“There is only one Amai in Zanu PF. Others have titles like VP Mujuru and minister Buka, but there is only one Amai. You have heard that they are some who want to drag her along Samora Machel Avenue in Harare, but that will never happen,” he said.
Zanu PF is burning at the national level, but while that happens, the fights have cascaded to the lowest of structures including the garden in Ward 12, Nyatso in Gokwe-Nembudziya constituency.