BY MIRIAM MANGWAYA
ZANU PF has threatened to disqualify its members who are campaigning for top positions in its structures ahead of internal elections set for next month before being given the greenlight by the party leadership.
Party leaders are reportedly struggling to control raging factionalism in the party as members jostle for positions.
Addressing the media after a politburo meeting on Saturday, Zanu PF acting political commissar Patrick Chinamasa said some party members were undermining sitting Members of Parliament (MPs) as they had already started campaigning to displace them in the 2023 polls.
He said jostling of positions within the party was disrupting its drive to mobilise five million supporters for the election in two years’ time.
Last month, Chinamasa ordered party bigwigs to stop co-opting of party members to fill in vacant provincial and district positions following indications that the cherry picking of members was widening rifts within the party.
On Saturday, he said the party’s restructuring exercise, aimed at addressing leadership gaps at lower structures, was in progress at branch levels throughout the country.
“The politburo also directed that until the central committee meets and declares 2023 election campaigns open, comrades must respect sitting party MPs and stop campaigning as if there were vacancies,” Chinamasa said.
“They are free to campaign where there are vacancies. We also gave a report to inform the politburo where these vacancies are. But where there are sitting MPs, we are saying those who are aspiring to stand in for 2023, the time is not yet ripe.
“If they continue to disturb and undermine sitting MPs, we will not hesitate to disqualify them from contesting come 2023. The focus at the moment should be on membership mobilisation. The task before us is to grow our membership to five million and not to jockey for positions which are occupied anyway.”
The politburo also took a swipe at some of its legislators who were reportedly misusing community development funds.
“The politburo raised concerns on the manner in which some MPs are handling community development funds, which should complement the developmental programmes underscored in the National Development Strategy 1,” Chinamasa said.
“It was reported that some MPs were yet to draw down on the funds to (carry out) development work in their respective constituencies. Politburo directs that this should stop forthwith and swift measures must be taken to correct this anomaly.”
The party, however, refused to take questions from the media after the briefing.
Follow Miriam on Twitter @FloMangwaya