ZANU PF is struggling to contain widening rifts emanating from the party’s chaotic internal provincial elections in December last year with the Midlands provincial executive reportedly being rocked by the turmoil last Saturday.
Camps reportedly aligned to Vice-President Joice Mujuru and Justice minister Emmerson Mnangagwa openly clashed over the election of the provincial executive that saw members of Mnangagwa’s camp dominating.
The meeting of the provincial structure was the first since the election of the new executive that saw Provincial Affairs minister Jason Machaya beating Mnangagwa’s prodigy Larry Mavhima for the chairmanship.
Politburo members Rugare Gumbo and Cephas Msipa reportedly stormed out of the meeting following a misunderstanding over the election of the rest of the provincial executive.
“Last year, after Machaya won the chairperson’s post, we had elections for provincial structures that were presided over by Esau Mupfumi,” a party source said.
“Out of the 120 positions in the province, 96 were won by those who were working with Mavhima. Those from Machaya’s camp staged a walkout after seeing that they had lost.
“Some who were in the basket also left before eight positions were contested for. This resulted in some members who were not in the basket taking part in the elections and winning,” the source said.
“On Saturday, about 200 people met as the provincial co-ordinating committee (PCC) after screening by security with 10 remaining outside.
“Being the first PCC meeting after the election of the executive, the issue of the eight positions arose on the agenda with those aligned to Machaya saying they were supposed to return to officials who were in the party basket,” said the source. A fierce debate erupted and the source said Gumbo and Msipa walked out of the meeting while Machaya remained chairing.
A motion was moved by provincial member Christopher Gwatidzo to adopt the election of the provincial executive which was done unanimously.
Zanu PF Midlands provincial spokesperson Cleopas Mupereri confirmed that Gumbo had walked out of the meeting adding that reports in the public media yesterday on what transpired were false.
Gumbo was quoted saying the meeting was aborted after tempers flared and members failed to agree on who should participate in the PCC as most people elected in the provincial committee were not in the basket.
Mupereri said the meeting was concluded, confirming that the provincial executive adopted a motion to endorse the election of the provincial executive as the basket issue had been resolved in consultation with provincial leaders on the day of the elections in December. He said it was unfortunate that the reports were not based on information from correct sources.
“I am the provincial secretary for information and publicity. For the record, the quoted senior member was not in the meeting throughout,” Mupereri said.