FIERCE intra-party clashes are expected at President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF youth rally in Marondera tomorrow, amid reports that rival factions are plotting to tear each other down in front of their party leader.
by OBEY MANAYITI/ XOLISANI NCUBE/JAIROS SAUNYAMA
According to reports, party youths affiliated to Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s Team Lacoste are planning to boo and denounce the ruling party’s political commissar, Savour Kasukuwere — perceived to be a member of the G40 faction.
The Mnangagwa camp is believed to have printed placards to humiliate Kasukuwere and further push for his ouster.
Party sources said those aligned to Kasukuwere were planning to counter the demonstration.
Although Mashonaland East provincial youth chairperson, Kelvin Mutsvairo said he was unaware of the plots and counterplots, party insiders said some youth within the province were already working with the support of others from outside.
“I don’t know of anything like that. We will have to investigate the matter to find out if anyone here is part of plotting such things,” he said.
Zanu PF youth secretary, Kudzanai Chipanga declined to comment, as he referred all questions to party spokesperson, Simon Khaya Moyo.
Moyo said he had no information on the alleged plots, but warned that errant party members would face stern disciplinary action.
“I don’t have such detail to be honest, my brother. But let it be known, anyone who tries to be funny or tries to tarnish the image of the party and of the President, will be dealt with accordingly,” he said.
“I am sure the youth league, as hosts, have put up mechanisms to deal with unruly behaviour.”
Insiders said police and other State security agents have been deployed to defuse the potential clash.
“What is happening is that there are people who are determined to embarrass Kasukuwere during the rally,” a source said.
“They are planning to boo him and demonstrate against him in front of the President. They are accusing him of forming parallel structures to oust the President and, hence, they want to embarrass him.”
Others said war veterans, particularly in Mashonaland Central province, have also mobilised their colleagues to co-ordinate the anti-Kasukuwere demonstration.
Those fighting in Kasukuwere’s corner said they would be on the lookout for potential trouble causers, so that they preempt the plot.
“If they want to cause trouble, then we will take them head-on,” another source said.
“The fortunate thing is that we have heard of their plots and, as such, we will be there to avoid spoiling the day.
“The President is coming to meet the youths and launch our voter campaign.
“We have no time to foment further chaos in the party, because if we are not careful, the elections will come when we are still fighting (sic).
“Our plan is to stop them in their tracks if they try to be mischievous.”
Party members fear violence could erupt, as happened in Bulawayo a few weeks ago at a provincial co-ordinating committee meeting.
Several Zanu PF gatherings, have since last year, been marred by violence.
Police in Bindura last month had to fire tear smoke to disperse rowdy Zanu PF supporters during public hearings on what triggered the Kasukuwere ouster campaigns .
Meanwhile, a delegation led by Chipanga yesterday toured Rudhaka Stadium to check on the venue’s readiness ahead of Mugabe’s rally.
The delegation comprised of Defence minister Sydney Sekeramayi, Youth Affairs minister Patrick Zhuwao, Provincial Affairs minister Ambrose Mutinhiri and Mashonaland East provincial chairperson, Bernard Makokove, among others.
“We came here to monitor the situation on the ground such as the pitching of the tents and other things,” Chipanga said.
“As far as the preparations are concerned, we are at 90%, as you can see everything is in place.
“On mobilisation, we have done much and we are just waiting for the day to come. We hope that by the end of day tomorrow (today) all will be in place.”
Mutinhiri said the province had mobilised more than 200 buses and lorries to ferry people from different parts of the province to the rally.
An estimated 100 000 party supporters are expected to attend the rally.