JOSTLING for top positions in the ruling Zanu PF party has gone into full swing ahead of the district co-ordinating committee (DCC) elections on December 5 and 6, with some bigwigs fearing being kicked out for flouting rules.
BY RICHARD MUPONDE/KENNETH NYANGANI/TATENDA CHITAGU
NewsDay understands that civil servants, including teachers and headmasters, have thrown their hats into the ring, while some bigwigs have scaled up name dropping President Emmerson Mnangagwa and Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga to gain traction.
Zanu PF last week announced that the highly-contested internal polls will be held across the country’s eight rural provinces next week.
But concerned members fear that the DCC elections could further divide the party and chaotic scenes that have characterised the campaign period could be prolonged unless leaders intervene.
Divisions in the party were apparent when, at a charged meeting in Mashonaland East, Senate president Mabel Chinomona claimed that members of the vanquished G40 group were still sitting on the “top table” with Mnangagwa and Chiwenga, while fomenting chaos ahead of the polls.
Zanu PF acting spokesperson Patrick Chinamasa yesterday said all the issues pertaining to the DCC and PCC elections would be addressed this week.
“We are not going to talk about that now,” Chinamasa told NewsDay.
“Keep your questions because they will be attended to on Wednesday at our weekly Press conference. Be there with your questions and I will
address them,” Chinamasa said.
But NewsDay understands that divisions have reached boiling point, forcing the top leadership to read the riot act to those at the centre of factionalism.
Those flouting the party’s regulations face the chop, insiders said.
“The leadership is not happy with how things are going especially candidates that are using the names of President Mnangagwa and VP Chiwenga to fan factionalism. There are fears that the party will emerge from the elections divided instead of fostering unity. Those who are found offside or flouting party rules risk being disqualified or fired from the party,” a source revealed.
He said the party was also unhappy with civil servants who wanted to contest for positions before resigning from their jobs.
Zanu PF is said to be afraid that this might tarnish its image because civil servants are supposed to be apolitical.
“A decision is going to be taken on those civil servants who have flouted the rules by vying for party positions. The party is running away from the narrative that government officials are captured by the party,” he said.
In Masvingo, a headmaster and a teacher based in Mwenezi district are campaigning in DCC elections.
Master Makope, a headmaster at Dhiziri Secondary School and Marvelous Chifumuro, a teacher at Sangwari Secondary School were said to be gunning for the positions of political commissar and secretary for finance, respectively.
Yesterday, Makope confirmed that he had decided to take on bigwigs in the polls.
He said there was nothing wrong with him vying for political office.
“Yes, it is true I am campaigning. Maybe we are basing this issue on a different law. The law says I should resign if I win, but if I don’t win I will retain my post. You want me to resign, what if I lose?” Makope charged.
Chifumuro could not be reached for a comment.
Mwenezi district schools inspector Philip Gumbo refused to comment on the issue.
“I am not in a position to comment on that issue, talk to my seniors,” he said.
Masvingo provincial education director Zedius Chitiga also turned down a request for comment.
“Refer to the Constitution and you will see what it says,” Chitiga said.
Zanu PF secretary for legal affairs Munyaradzi Paul Mangwana has said no government employee should contest for political office or assume any position in a political party before resigning from the civil service.
Section 200 of the Constitution stipulates that no government employee is allowed to further the interests of any political party or cause or act in a partisan manner.
Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare minister Paul Mavima could not be reached for comment.
Zanu PF had banned DCCs in 2012 after the late former President Robert Mugabe said they were causing divisions within the party.
In the highly-charged Makoni district in Manicaland, war veterans are also reportedly fighting over the district’s chairmanship.
The district is considered one of the ruling party’s political hotbeds and is home to former Zanu PF secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa, who was the province’s godfather before he was expelled from the party in 2014.
Three candidates are fighting for the Makoni chairmanship.
These include Makoni South MP Misheck Mataranyika, who is said to be the favourite to win the race.
Other candidates are former provincial vice-chairman Joseph Mujati and Albert Nyakuedzwa.
Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA) Manicaland provincial deputy chairperson Musindo Sendekera said they are not in support of Nyakuedzwa because of his “dark past”.
Nyakuedzwa was jailed for killing war veteran Tina Wilson Mukono in 2005 over disagreements in Makoni district.
He was jailed for three years and was released through presidential pardon at the behest of his political godfather Mutasa.
“There is a group of war veteran moving with Nyakuedzwa giving a false impression that war veterans have agreed and endorsed his candidature in Makoni. I want to make it clear that no such endorsement was made because how can we endorse him when we are very much aware that he killed one of our war veterans in 2005,” Sendekera said.
“They will come and tell you that war veterans have agreed and endorsed Nyakuedzwa’s candidature, but that is a lie. No sane war veteran will endorse the candidature of a man who killed and served time in jail for the murder of a fellow war veteran,” he said.
The war veteran’s vice-secretary for health Joseph Nyamapfeni also added: “At which meeting did we endorse him? Nyakuedzwa has been bribing some war veterans and people should not be deceived.”
Nyakuedzwa, however, dismissed the allegations, claiming that he was associating with everyone in the district.
“I have support from everyone. I am just one of the people who submitted their curriculum vitaes ahead of the DCC elections. We need these elections to be peaceful and we don’t want provincial members to jump the gun, and we want people to respect the constitution of the party,” Nyakuedzwa said.