FIERCE battle lines have been drawn between the Zanu PF Manicaland leadership and the party’s affiliate organisation, Zimbabwe National Liberation War Collaborators’ Association (Ziliwaco), after the latter allegedly unprocedurally invited First Lady Grace Mugabe to its conference next month.
Ziliwaco leaders are alleged to have invited the First Lady as their guest speaker at a conference to be held in Odzi next month.
The matter raised tempers during a provincial meeting held in Mutare on Sunday with senior party officials accusing Ziliwaco leaders of defying protocol and side-stepping the party leadership.
“The provincial leadership was very unhappy with the way Ziliwaco is doing its business,” said a top Zanu PF official who requested anonymity.
“They are trying to call the First Lady to address their conference to be held at Odzi and they never told us. They are trying to paint a picture that we are not in support of the move that she (Grace) ascends to the top position of being chair of the Women’s League.”
The source added: “They want us to be seen as factional elements who are against the elevation of the First Lady at the elective congress and that is wrong. We are going to call the Ziliwaco leadership to come and explain to us why they want to tarnish us.”
However, Ziliwaco provincial chair Angeline Muponda yesterday shot back at the Zanu PF provincial leaders accusing them of “being trigger-happy”.
“We are going to have our celebrations for marking 18 years and the provincial leadership is pressing us on who is will be our guest of honour,” Muponda said.
“We are a Zanu PF affiliate organisation and we act as their watchdog. Their allegations are crazy, they are joking.”
Zanu PF provincial secretary for administration Kenneth Saruchera accused Ziliwaco leaders of defying party protocol.
“The real issue is that if Ziliwaco wants to do anything that involves the party, they should follow protocol like what the war veterans do,” Saruchera said.
“We are getting a lot of complaints from our structures over their conduct that they are doing party business without consulting us. That is wrong,” he added.
Since her entry into mainstream politics, the First Lady has been a source of fighting among ruling party members.