A ZANU PF provincial co-ordinating committee (PCC) meeting failed to take place yesterday as party youths traded blows at Victoria Junior Primary School in Masvingo over who was supposed to chair it between Retired Brigadier-General Killian Gwanetsa and his deputy Paradzai Chakona.
Gwanetsa had a vote of no confidence passed on him last Thursday by the executive for supporting Vice-President Joice Mujuru, but he said it was a nullity because it was not properly constituted and they had no mandate to unseat him.
Instead, a vote of no confidence was passed on Chakona at a provincial executive meeting held on Saturday. Chakona is also disputing the vote of no confidence passed on him, saying Gwanetsa had no mandate to preside over the meeting, since he had been booted out.
He said Gwanetsa could not nullify the vote of no confidence with another vote of no confidence.
This led to the circus on who was legitimate chairperson of the meeting as Gwanetsa’s sympathisers and Chakona’s supporters clashed, leading to the cancellation of the meeting.
Chakona is believed to belong to a faction led by Justice minister Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Both Mujuru and Mnangagwa deny leading factions in the race to succeed President Robert Mugabe, although the nonagenarian leader is said to have fingered the two as leading different groups in the party.
The youths — including women — traded blows and fought running battles. Surprisingly, no arrests were made. The police said they did not receive a report on the violence.
Sources said faction bussed in and hired crowds at the meeting to outdo each other, leading to the skirmishes. The said plans to oust Gwanetsa reportedly border on the broader attack on Mujuru, leading to a suspected purge of her sympathisers ahead of the party congress in December.
No comment could be obtained from Zanu PF officials at the time of going to print last night.
Meanwhile, in Mutare, some party members believed to be sympathetic to provincial chairman John Mvundura threatened to disrupt a PCC meeting at Marymount Teachers’ College after they allegedly got wind of a plot to oust the chairperson.
A Zanu PF faction led by outgoing women’s league boss Oppah Muchinguri accused Mvundura of being a Mujuru ally. Police had to intervene yesterday to quell a potentially volatile situation after scores of Mvundura supporters gathered at the main gate baying for Muchinguri, Makoni South MP Mandi Chimene and war veterans’ leader Joseph Chinotimba’s blood.
The youths jeered the trio as they left the venue after it emerged that the plot had been shelved.
Mvundura defended the demonstrators saying they were acting in solidarity with him.
“This is a demonstration of solidarity that as Manicaland we need unity of purpose,” Mvundura said.
“We don’t want to be divided by political malcontents because what we want is for the country to move ahead and prosper.