By Alex Bell
11 April 2013
ZANU PF’s top decision making body the Politburo met on Thursday amid worsening tensions within Robert Mugabe’s party.
The official line is that the Politburo meeting, which was attended by Mugabe, would focus on the party’s election campaign strategy and the primaries.
But it is understood the meeting was also called to try and diffuse the building tensions within the party, tensions that some analysts say have left ZANU PF ‘weakened’.
Infighting, which ZANU PF repeatedly denies, has continued to intensify in recent months, as the battle over who will lead the party after Mugabe hots up.
The most recent development has been the drafting of a petition by some top officials in the party, who are asking Mugabe to rein in ZANU PF secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa. Officials from Manicaland accused Mutasa of causing divisions in the party and have warned that if his behaviour goes unchecked, the party would be ‘doomed’ come election time.
Among those believed to have attended last Friday’s meeting are Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa, Deputy Minister of Energy Hubert Nyanhongo, suspended provincial chairperson Mike Madiro, acting provincial chair Dorothy Mabika, Buhera North MP William Mutomba, war vets leader Joseph Chinotimba and ZANU PF Women’s League leader Oppah Muchinguri.
The NewsDay newspaper reported that most of the petitioners allegedly belong to a ZANU PF faction led by Defence Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa, which has been fighting a rival faction led by Vice-President Joice Mujuru for years.
By the end of Thursday there was no word of what transpired at the Politburo meeting.
But political analyst Pedzisai Ruhanya told SW Radio Africa that ZANU PF is in a weakened state. He blamed the party’s disunity on Mugabe’s continued leadership, and his failure to once and for all pick a successor.
“There are different people in ZANU PF who see this as an opportunity to take over, and there is no unity about what happens when Mugabe is gone. So ZANU PF is in a difficult position,” Ruhanya said.
He added that this was a prime opportunity for “progressive, democratic forces” to unite and ensure real democratic change in Zimbabwe.
“If the MDC factions, the other political players, the civil society groups, the youth, everyone who wants democracy came together to launch a concerted attack on the political hegemony of ZANU PF, it will weaken its stronghold on power,” Ruhanya said.
He continued that the onus was now on the MDC factions, particularly the MDC-T, to “put aside their party parochial issues and challenge all democratic forces to unite and bring about democracy.”