By Tererai Karimakwenda
20 November 2012
A ZANU PF provincial congress that was held at Masvingo Polytechnic College on Saturday is reported to have descended into violence and chaos, after some party officials who were denied entry to the venue clashed with police.
Reports said the police ended up unleashing dogs on the protesting members, after their anger turned to violence and they threatened to force their way into the closed-door meeting.
Tapiwa Mukaro and George Mudukuti Jr., son of former Masvingo North legislator George Mudukuti, were arrested and later released without charge. Mudukuti and several other party members sustained minor injuries from the dogs and were treated at a hospital in Masvingo.
ZANU PF politburo member Dzikamai Mavhaire, is reported to have confirmed the Saturday incident and apologised to party members. But his comments to the press also alluded to infighting within ZANU PF as the cause for the chaos.
Mavhaire was quoted as saying: “It is known that district structures in Masvingo are in shambles. There was manipulation of district structures through the disbanded DCCs (district co-ordinating committees) by people fighting for power.”
Political analyst Bekithemba Mhlanga told SW Radio Africa that Masvingo province has always reflected ZANU PF’s strengths or weaknesses, giving a view into ZANU PF’s national character.
Mhlanga said Masvingo has also been the centre of struggles between the Josiah Hungwe, Stan Mudenge and Edson Zvobgo factions, which are well known in political circles.
As a party ZANU PF likes to present the impression that they are together and intact, but the run up to the next election is revealing all the tensions that have been growing between the old guard and so-called “young turks”, and the greedy who want more.
Mhlanga also pointed to Robert Mugabe’s old age as a factor, saying the ZANU PF leader can no longer exert as much energy as he used to, to keep the party together.