By Tichaona Sibanda
27 July 2012
Members of Emmerson Mnangagwa’s inner circle in the Midlands province have accused Robert Mugabe and the politburo of waging a ‘merciless war’ against the Defence Minister, which they claim has hurt the former ruling party.
The Midlands province has traditionally been a stronghold for Mnangagwa and it didn’t come as a surprise when his camp reacted with astonishment and fury after the politburo disbanded the party’s District Coordination Committees last month.
The politburo decision was influenced by the fact that Mnangagwa had imposed candidates on the electorate using ‘bribes.’ His supporters argue that he’s not the only one to breach these rules as most senior members in the party were also guilty of using cash and influence to sway voters.
SW Radio Africa is reliably informed that angry ZANU PF officials aligned to Mnangagwa have vowed to fight against the dissolution of the DCCs, claiming Mugabe was ill advised.
The issue of the DCCs has remained a highly emotive subject for the politburo. Discussion on this matter had to be deferred from Wednesday to Friday after they failed to agree. A source told us the brains behind the ‘rebellious’ province’s stance to go against the politburo is businessman and deputy chairman of the Midlands province, Larry Mavhima.
Instead of accepting the dissolution of the district structures, the province, under Mavhima’s influence, has hit back saying the entire politburo should instead be dissolved.
This has been viewed as an open challenge to Mugabe’s grip on power in the party. The politburo was due to meet Friday and reports said the provincial chairman of the province, Jaison Machaya had been summoned to explain this rejection of the party’s decision to disband the DCCs.
‘While the DCCs were disbanded countrywide, the structures in the Midlands province are intact and they still hold meetings. They said they’re prepared to challenge the dissolution in front of the politburo,’ our source in Gweru said.
It is believed the Midlands province is strongly against a clause in the new draft constitution that empowers the President of a political party to choose his or her running mates.
‘They refer to it as the Mnangagwa clause because it eliminates him from succeeding Mugabe. They want it scratched off or substituted by another clause that allows the central committee to vote for the President’s running mates,’ the source added.
Didymus Mutasa, the party’ secretary for administration and the man who has become Mnangagwa’s nemesis in his quest to succeed Mugabe, said: ‘it will be abnormal and not possible for him to succeed the ZANU PF leader ahead of the party’s two vice presidents and national chairman.’
While Mnangagwa still has ambitions for the top post, his party does not believe that he appeals to people. He was twice trounced by the MDC-T’s Blessing Chebundo in the KweKwe parliamentary elections. Most people in ZANU PF believe that close rival Vice-President Mujuru stands a better chance in a national election than Mnangagwa.