TENSIONS are high in Zanu PF following the alleged poisoning of national commissar and Defence and War Veterans deputy minister Victor Matemadanda by rivals unhappy with the party’s restructuring exercise.
BY MOSES MATENGA/NHAU MANGIRAZI
Some Zanu PF members are said to have started canvassing for support to stand as candidates in the 2023 general election, heightening tensions in the ruling party.
Party insiders told NewsDay yesterday that Matemadanda could have been a victim of poisoning, a position Zanu PF has denied.
Others feared that his sudden illness could derail district co-ordinating committee (DCC) elections spearheaded by his office.
There has been allegations that some top party officials are name-dropping President Emmerson Mnangagwa and his deputy, Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga in a bid to be nominated.
Zanu PF acting national spokesperson Patrick Chinamasa yesterday rubbished the assertion that Matemadanda’s ill-health would affect DCC elections.
“It should not affect the DCC elections as you know that Matemadanda has a deputy, Omega Hungwe. There will be no disruptions to the process. In any case, from what I gather from Matemadanda, he should be well soon. He is feeling much better.”
Chinamasa said the Zanu PF politburo was likely to meet this week to deliberate on the elections and possibly come up with timelines.
“The politburo will announce (the dates), hopefully, next week Wednesday. That is when we are going to receive approved lists of those who qualified to stand as DCC election candidates,” he said.
Matemadanda fell ill during a provincial co-ordinating committee (PCC) meeting in Marondera last week and was rushed to hospital. He is recuperating at home.
According to a statement released on Saturday night by Chinamasa, Matemadanda’s illness included itchiness of the eyes, sweating profusely, swelling of the body and vomiting badly.
Insiders said there was tension in the party over jostling for posts, ahead of key elections.
Zanu PF is reportedly divided along factional lines with one faction said to be aligned to Mnangagwa while another is backing Chiwenga.
The ruling party has, however, dismissed as hogwash reports of factions in Zanu PF.
But, a letter penned last week by Zanu PF Mashonaland West provincial chairperson and Justice minister Ziyambi Ziyambi which was seen by NewsDay, says some party members were already canvassing for top party positions and to stand as parliamentary candidates for the 2023 elections.
Ziyambi pointed out that this was causing division within the ruling party.
“The party policy does not allow such practice as it destabilises the work of sitting MPs and creates unnecessary divisions. The party issues directives at the relevant time on the conduct of any election,” Ziyambi said.
“We need to work as a team and ensure that we realise promises as contained in our 2018 manifesto as opposed to engaging in divisive campaigns when elections are still far way off,” he said.
Party insiders told NewsDay that some senior members, including those eyeing central committee, PCC and DCC posts, were using their financial muscle to get nominations.
“I will be writing to the individuals concerned in that regard. In the same vein, let us maintain the peace and camaraderie that we have shown in recent days in our DCC campaigns. Save for a few bad apples, the rest have largely heeded the call I made earlier on the need not to attack each other,” Ziyambi said.