Zanu PF shelves ‘Thank You’ rallies

The development comes after the ruling party disowned a slogan which is ostensibly endorsing Mnangagwa as the party leader until 2030.

THE ruling Zanu PF party has indefinitely postponed its planned “Thank You” rallies across Zimbabwe amid internal strife over the events which are being viewed as an agenda to push President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s bid for a third term in office.

The development comes after the ruling party disowned a slogan which is ostensibly endorsing Mnangagwa as the party leader until 2030.

Some Zanu PF members, believed to be from a faction aligned to Mnangagwa launched early this year the “2030, vaMnangagwa vanenge vachipo” (Mnangagwa will still be in office) campaign igniting turmoil in the party corridors.

Sources within the ruling party are claiming that Mnangagwa is increasingly being pressured to hand over power to Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga.

They indicated that this was due to the precedent set by the November 2017 coup during which the late former President Robert Mugabe was overthrown. NewsDay understands that under some unverified succession dynamics, Mnangagwa was supposed to serve one term and cede power to the former army general.

However, Mnangagwa’s allies are reportedly pushing to declare him President beyond 2028 when his second term ends, further widening the rift between the two.

In an exclusive interview with NewsDay on Friday last week, Zanu PF national political commissar Mike Bimha said the “2030, vaMnangagwa vanenge vachipo”slogan was not recognised in the party.

“The commissariat never said we have a new slogan,” Bimha said.

“I don’t know. It didn’t come from the commissariat.

“People are free to express themselves in their own way. I want to suppose that they are saying in 2030 VaMnangagwa will still be alive and I think it’s a good wish for him to be still alive even beyond that. There is no problem with that.”

Mnangagwa had also earlier dismissed the claims that he wants to run for the third term saying he abides by the Constitution which limits the Presidency to two terms.

Bimha ruled out the possibility of an election before 2028.

“We follow the Constitution,” Bimha said.

“Zanu PF follows the Constitution. Elections come every five years. We had elections and we won those elections. Elections will come again in 2028 and we will win anyway. That is where we are.”

Bimha also said Zanu PF was not preparing for an election.

“We are always ready for any election, even if it comes tomorrow, we are ready. What happens soon after the elections is that our focus changes. We are focusing on economic issues, fulfilling the promises that we made to our electorate and also to ensure that the government in particular delivers on those promises,” Bimha added.

Meanwhile, party sources told NewsDay yesterday that the postponement of the “Thank You” rallies was a result of escalating tensions between rival factions vying for influence and control within the party.

“It’s not yet clear why they postponed. They gave a notice that we are postponing the rallies. There has been too much factionalism within the party,” one source claimed.

“It’s chaotic. The party youths, however, have been pushing for the amendment of the Constitution to allow Mnangagwa to rule for more than two terms in another move seen as targeted at Chiwenga.”

Other sources, however, said financial woes led to the postponement.

“The party does not have money for the rallies. Its coffers are empty. In fact, those who are fighting can halt their differences and prepare for the rallies for the sake of President Mnangagwa. So, I don’t think that’s the reason why the rallies were postponed. You can check with Bimha,” said another source.

The party is also reportedly nursing other ructions after treasurer-general Patrick Chinamasa allegedly pushed for the lifting of the suspension of Manicaland women’s league leader Happiness Nyakuedzwa.

The politburo suspended Nyakuedzwa in February this year for alleged misconduct.

A politburo member yesterday said Chinamasa fought for Nyakuedzwa’s reinstatement during the last two politburo meetings. Nyakuedzwa and her husband, Zanu PF Manicaland provincial political commissar Albert Nyakuedzwa, are repotedly Chiwenga allies.

The development has purportedly left the politburo divided.

In Matabeleland North, Zanu PF secretary-general Obert Mpofu is also allegedly at loggerheads with Provincial Affairs and Devolution minister Richard Moyo, who is said to be under fire for presiding over several failed and unfulfilled projects in the province since he was appointed minister in 2017.

In Mashonaland West, politburo members are also being accused of plotting against provincial chairperson Mary Mliswa-Chikoka who is accused of ignoring the national leadership.

She lost her parliamentary seat last year amid allegations that politburo members and war veterans were fighting her candidature. Mliswa-Chikoka is now a proportional representation councillor in Hurungwe District Council.

In an interview, Zanu PF director of information Farai Marapira dismissed the factionalism reports in the ruling party.

He said: “First and foremost there is no factionalism in Zanu PF. The leadership is very solid and united. Any talk of factionalism is just imaginary in the eyes of people who have nothing better to do.

“Our calendar has been busy with projects which move the country forward. This is why the Thank You rallies have been postponed.

“They will be held, definitely, at the discretion and convenience of the party. The party will not be forced to do its programmes just to fulfil the interest of those who are outside.”

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