ZANU-PF stalwart and ex-secretary for administration, Didymus Mutasa, says very senior party officials are behind the dog-eat dog mayhem ravaging the former liberation movement ahead of its divisive district co-ordinating committee (DCC) elections.
Speaking in an exclusive interview with the Daily News On Sunday yesterday, Mutasa said his knowledge of, and experience in Zanu-PF, suggested that politburo members and senior Cabinet ministers were the main cause of the current chaos in the ruling party.
This comes as Zanu-PF’s deadly tribal and factional demons of yesteryear are once again wreaking havoc in the former liberation movement, over the pending polls of the key DCC structures that were banned during the last few years in power of the late former president Robert Mugabe.
It also comes as there are strong sentiments by some in Zanu-PF that the DCCs must be disbanded on account of their alleged divisive nature. Mutasa said he had little doubt that top Zanu-PF bigwigs were muddying the waters ahead of the DCC polls, creating chaos at grassroots levels.
“You cannot have someone coming all the way from Harare to conduct elections in Manicaland, for example.
“What is the provincial minister doing there? He or she is the person on the ground and must have authority over party chairpersons in the districts.
“Confusion is being caused by the people from Harare dictating to people in places like Rusape what to do in terms of voting,” Mutasa said. The liberation stalwart was fired from Zanu-PF during the height of factional fights between the then vice president Joice Mujuru and then secretary for legal affairs in the party, President Emmerson Mnangagwa, in December 2014.
He has since been reinstated into the party and is tipped to become one of the party’s leaders within the mooted Elders’ Council. In the meantime, Zanu-PF acting spokesperson, Patrick Chinamasa, has dismissed calls for the DCCs to be disbanded, arguing that contradictions were normal in power contestations.
“Where there is a contestation of this nature there are people who, in pursuit of their interests, have different views about the process. “Those who fear losing always cast aspersions on the process.
People must learn to lose and accept. What is key is that the elections must be conducted fairly and transparently.
“The issue about disbanding them is a nonstarter. DCCs are now part of the constitution. We need them to co-ordinate party activities. “We took the decision to reintroduce them only last year. Any challenges emanating from there will be managed by the commissariat,”
Chinamasa told the Daily News On Sunday. Turning to allegations that bigwigs were imposing their own candidates, the former Finance minister said sometimes people misunderstand the word “imposition”.
“Imposition is when one declares that so and so must be the candidate while sidelining others. We will make sure that all CVs are considered so that those who qualify contest,” he said.
All this comes as University of Zimbabwe political science lecturer Eldred Masunungure has advised Mnangagwa to follow the example of his predecessor by doing away with the DCCs, to ensure cohesion in Zanu-PF.
“It appears to me that the contradictions that led Mugabe to disband them are still alive, and hence it makes sense that the DCCs be discarded.
“In fact, it is most likely that they will suffer the same fate they suffered under Mugabe as they are a magnet that attracts factional fights,” he said.
The DCC structures elect Zanu-PF’s 10 provincial executives – from where the party and Mnangagwa draw members of the central committee and the politburo.
The party’s DCCs were disbanded in 2012 after they were deemed to be fanning factionalism during Mnangagwa and Mujuru’s battles to succeed Mugabe.
Then, Mnangagwa’s group had gained control of most regions, including Mujuru’s Mashonaland Central province – putting him in a strong position ahead of the party’s 2014 congress. Mnangagwa himself warned brawling Zanu-PF bigwigs last week that they risked being cut loose from the party, as he sought to engender unity in the factions ridden former liberation movement.
Addressing a Zanu-PF politburo meeting in Harare – ahead of the contentious but influential DCC elections – a bristling Mnangagwa said he had had enough of his lieutenants’ infighting and other untoward actions.
This came after former Cabinet minister and Zanu-PF stalwart, Tshinga Dube, had also warned that the ugly factionalism and succession wars plaguing the ruling party were derailing Mnangagwa’s efforts to resolve the country’s decades-long political and economic challenges.
It also came as the ruling party’s recently held Harare provincial primary elections had their results withheld, amid a slew of allegations ranging from ballot cheating to bribery.
“As DCC campaigns are under way, members must continue to conduct themselves in an orderly manner. Irregularities reported must be fairly and impartially addressed, as guided by our party’s constitution.
“Equally, uncouth behaviour such as the imposition of candidates, vote buying and other electoral malpractices which divide the party are not acceptable.
“I must reiterate that the quality of the candidates should correspond to the DCC we all envision, as directed by the party’s people annual conference of 2018,” Mnangagwa thundered.
“The DCCs structures boost our party constitutionalism, internal democracy, and grass root mobilisation.
“Our party constitution, rules, regulations, values and traditions must always be our cardinal political and moral compass.
“I reiterate that … the party constitution obligates members, inter alia to be loyal, patriotic and dispense themselves honourably in their dealings with the party and must never soil its name,” Mnangagwa added.
He also warned that Zanu-PF needed to remain wary of the threats posed by the party’s vanquished Generation 40 (G40) faction and other detractors.
“As such, the overwhelming response by the prospective candidates shows that we are indeed a people’s party. As DCC campaigns are underway, members must continue to conduct themselves in an orderly manner.
“As exponents of our party and its ideology, we must be alive to the clandestine machinations of detractors, the G40 cabal and their sympathisers.
“The consortium is using social media, among other means, to launch an onslaught on our country and the party.
“These perennial nay-sayers must be doomed to the political abyss once and for all, and they must never be allowed to succeed,” the 78-year-old Zanu-PF leader said further.
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