ZANU PF’s internal conflict has reportedly turned nasty ahead of Tuesday’s crunch provincial elections amid reports that President Emmerson Mnangagwa and his deputy Constantino Chiwenga were using the poll to strategically position themselves ahead of the party’s 2022 elective congress.
Senior party officials told The Standard that the provincial elections were threatening to get bloody as violence had already erupted in some provinces.
In this political mess, the name of exiled former ZANU PF national political commissar Saviour Kasukuwere comes up, accused of sponsoring candidates in the ZANU PF provincial elections.
His accusers charge that Tyson, as Kasukuwere is known, is determined to take back control of the party that he led as political commissar before he went into exile following the November 2017 military coup. A source from the volatile Mashonaland Central province told the Standard on Christmas:
This is a fight for the control of structures ahead of the congress that we hear is around December 2022. It’s a war now as the fight is on who should be in charge, Mnangagwa or Chiwenga.
Inside sources and other information gathered by The Standard ahead of the Tuesday polls indicate that intimidation and mudslinging, including even outright violence, are taking centre stage across provinces, particularly in Manicaland, Midlands, Mashonaland West and Mashonaland Central.
In Manicaland, there were reports that villagers were being threatened against attending meetings called by rival candidates while police received an assault report on Wednesday where a Zanu PF local chairman was attacked with a knife by a member of a rival team during a meeting.
Manicaland Zanu PF chairman Mike Madiro a known Mnangagwa ally confirmed and condemned the acts of violence against him and other aspiring candidates.
Central committee member Moses Gutu claimed that some people who wanted to contest in the Zanu PF provincial elections were Kasukuwere’s agents.
In Masvingo province, Zanu PF supporters protested at the homestead of Chiredzi West Member of Parliament Farai Musikavanhu after accusing him of using presidential inputs to buy support.
Former war veterans’ leader Jabulani Sibanda, who is eyeing the Bulawayo provincial chairman’s post, hinted in his campaign message that he wanted to restructure the party and flush out what he called criminal elements that were hiding in Zanu PF.
More: The Standard