Sharp divisions have emerged in the Zanu PF presidium, pitting President Emmerson Mnangagwa and his deputy, Constantino Chiwenga, over the remaining District Coordinating Committees (DCC) elections.
The ruling party is expected to hold DCC elections in eight provinces except in Harare and Bulawayo. The two provinces have already conducted the processes.
Zanu PF is reviving the DCCs, which were disbanded in 2012 after the party, then led by the now late President Robert Mugabe, disbanded them on the strength the district structures were fomenting deep noxious divisions and factionalism among the national party leadership.
The Politburo, Zanu PF’s highest decision-making body outside congress, has given the remaining eight provinces a two-week ultimatum to complete the process of approving candidates for DCCs.
However, according to senior sources in the Politburo, the decision has also created further tensions between Mnangagwa and Chiwenga over the control of candidates into the influential district committees.
“The issue is the one who has control of the DCCs ultimately has control of the party structures and can call the shots in party and government. So the two (Mnangagwa and Chiwenga) are brawling seriously through their proxies,” a Politburo insider told NewZimbabwe.com Friday.
“There is trouble around the country, but Mashonaland East, West and Manicaland provinces are the most troublesome.”
In Mashonaland East, which is Chiwenga’s home province as he hails from Wedza, Apollonia Munzverengwi was Wednesday demoted from her influential post as the national commissar in the Zanu PF Women’s League to deputy secretary for lands.
Munzverengwi who is the Mashonaland East Minister is perceived as one of the ardent supporters of Chiwenga and was stands accused of interfering with the DCC preparations in the province. A former assistant commissioner in the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP), she also hails from Chiwenga’s Wedza rural home.
According to Zanu PF national chairperson Oppah Muchinguri who heads the national disciplinary committee (NDC), the Women’s League had recommended Munzverengwi’s dismissal for bringing the name of the party into disrepute after her nude pictures went viral on social media platforms last year.
Another ally of Chiwenga who saw the chop Wednesday is controversial Chegutu West MP Dexter Nduna, a former Zimbabwe Air Force member, who was removed as Mashonaland West vice provincial chairperson to be an ordinary card-carrying member for one year. However, he remains an MP.
Nduna, according to the source, was sacked for interfering with the selection of DCCs candidates and his constant clashes with Mashonaland West chair, Ziyambi Ziyambi. Justice Minister Ziyambi is considered as a Mnangagwa confidante.
The Politburo insider said the removal of Chiwenga’s backers had stocked further tensions between Mnangagwa and Chiwenga.
This forced the Politburo Wednesday to refer back to the provinces, for vetting purposes, thousands of curriculum vitaes (CVs) the Zanu PF national commissar Victor Matemadanda had turned up with for approval.
“He (Matemadanda) came to the meeting with volumes and volumes of CVs for approval and it was decided that they should be taken back to the provinces for vetting since they were too voluminous to be attended to by the Politburo,” the senior official said.
“So it will be the duty of the respective provincial executive committees to deal with the CVs, although some members said there are fears this could lead to some candidates being victimized or sidelined given the intense fighting going on around the country over these positions,” the source added.
“We, therefore, decided that should there be any grievances arising from the process, the affected candidates should appeal to the Politburo and the issues will be deliberated on. As you know this restructuring period is always characterized by vicious fights as people seek to compete for positions and also seek to sneak their friends in.”
However, according to the source, Chiwenga’s camp cannot wait to take over from his superior, Mnangagwa, and want to use the DCC structures to consolidate his power.