THE political fallout between Zanu PF politburo member Oppah Muchinguri and Manicaland Provincial Affairs minister Mandi Chimene over control of party structures in the province has shaken the ruling party’s presidium, prompting it to send a mediator, it has emerged
XOLISANI NCUBE/OBEY MANAYITI
Zanu PF national political commissar Saviour Kasukuwere would this weekend travel to Mutare to douse the fire ahead of next month’s two crucial by-elections.
Party insiders said the infighting had stalled Zanu PF’s preparations for next month’s by-elections in Chikanga-Dangamvura and Headlands constituencies.
Muchinguri is alleged to have declared herself the province’s political godmother following the expulsion of former secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa.
This reportedly put her on a collision course with Chimene who, as Provincial Affairs minister, considers herself the most senior party official in Manicaland.
Insiders said Chimene had also deliberately bypassed acting provincial chairman Samuel Undenge to “prove her supremacy”.
She is also alleged to be against the recent election of Esau Mupfumi, a suspected Muchinguri ally, as the party’s candidate for Chikanga-Dangamvura.
Although Chimene has denied any such rift, she publicly rebuked Mupfumi at a recent campaign rally and accused him of being divorced from the electorate.
“I will be in Manicaland with my team. As the commissariat, our duty is to grow the party and increase votes and ensure Zanu PF is strong, united and ready to consolidate its pole position. That is what I am going to do in Mutare as we prepare for the June 10 by-elections,” Kasukuwere said yesterday.
He, however, declined to be drawn to comment on the alleged fallout between Chimene and Muchinguri, although Zanu PF insiders insisted that Kasukuwere was on a firefighting mission on instruction from the presidium.
“As I have said, I will be addressing rallies in Headlands and attending to party business in the province with the sole aim of winning it for Zanu PF. So whatever else is said as long as it does not help the party to win the votes, to me is meaningless, but if it helps us get the votes we want, that is what as Team Zanu PF we are working on,” he said.