PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe apparently must not lose sleep over the acrimonious factional struggles in Zanu PF because rural district councils are ready to support him in his quest to retain power at all costs.
BY RICHARD CHIDZA
Mugabe has helplessly watched as two distinct groups in Zanu PF heckle over who will take over from him, but yesterday Association of Rural District Councils of Zimbabwe (ARDCZ) president, Killer Zivhu told NewsDay that the 92-year-old leader “must never lose sleep”.
“We have set in motion a process that we see all councillors across the country meeting the President as soon as he returns from his annual leave. We want to tell the President that he must never lose sleep because some people want his position.
“The so-called factions and their leaders are all detached from reality. Even some para-Zanu PF groups that have also been making noise should never be allowed to hold the President to ransom, claiming they have the power to determine whether he retains power next year. We are standing by him,” Zivhu said.
“We want to tell the President about the problems people are facing, the bad state of the roads and growing poverty. But most importantly, we have a message from the rural folk that we support President Mugabe as our leader in the next election. We are going to use our proximity to rural people to fight against the ‘bhora musango’ idea.”
Mugabe has always been accused of using State institutions to retain power and the emergence of ARDCZ as a Zanu PF anchor in hugely-anticipated elections next year gives credence to calls by opposition parties for reforms.
Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa, seen as Mugabe’s heir apparent for years now, is facing growing opposition to his bid to take over from Mugabe by a faction pushing for First Lady Grace Mugabe as a possible successor to her ailing husband.
Zivhu said his proposed meeting would include chiefs and chief executive officers of rural district councils. His declaration that his association would not support the existing factions could be seen as a continuation of the struggle for power in Zanu PF and the continued weakening of the G40 group, whose major proponents include Local Government minister Saviour Kasukuwere.
Kasukuwere doubles as Zanu PF political commissar and was reportedly not happy with Mugabe’s decision to split his ministry that previously superintended over rural councils and traditional leaders.
Traditional leaders have also been accused by opposition parties of frog-marching poor villagers to Zanu PF rallies and threatening them against voting for any other party, but the ruling party.
Zivhu told NewsDay that rural councillors would begin to campaign for Mugabe this year, while war veterans have threatened to dump the veteran politician, accusing him of refusing to hand over power to Mnangagwa.
Mugabe lost the first round of voting in 2008 to MDC-T leader, Morgan Tsvangirai after an internal revolt persuaded people to vote against the Zanu PF leader.
War veterans have threatened another rebellion in the coming elections.