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Zanu PF panics, pulls plug on provincial elections over deeply divisive polls

A DAMNING dossier detailing violence, vote buying and factionalism tearing apart Zanu PF during internal elections was handed to President Emmerson Mnangagwa over the weekend prompting him to suspended provincial elections, Zim Morning Post can report.

Insiders say Mnangagwa is now weighing the option of co-opting individuals into Zanu PF chairmanship posts to avoid the fragmented party from further splitting ahead the 2023 election.

“On Monday, the party was forced into an extraordinary politburo meeting after a petition had been made by various provinces detailing the skirmishes that were taking place across the country. Suspending provincial elections was the only solution,” said a highly placed source.

Zanu PF acting spokesperson Mike Bimha told journalists on Monday night the party had suspended provincial elections to allow the smooth running of the National Annual Oeople’s Conference set for October 25 – 31.

“The politburo resolved to suspend provincial elections until further notice so as to allow the structures to concentrate on the conference preparations,” he said.

Bimha appeared to want to play down the magnitude of the shortcomings of the internal election process saying the extraordinary Politburo session was necessitated by the urgency of the National Annual People’s Conference.

The district elections which got underway on Monday, will go ahead as planned across the country’s 10 provinces, Zanu PF said.

As earlier reported by Zim Morning Post, the ruling Zanu PF bigwigs have been throwing the kitchen sink at the party district elections with top officials lining their ducks in a roll in a desperate bid to plant their proxies into the lower structures of the party.

Establishing proxies at district level increases ones influence in the upper rungs of the ruling party.

Zanu PF districts are a key organ whose office bearers form the Electoral College for the party’s primary elections and provincial elections.

In Mashonaland West, violence has been reported in patches between rival camps.

In the province Provincial Minister Mary Mliswa was set to battle it out in the now suspended provincial elections against the province’s youth chairperson Vengi Musengi and the Ziyambi Ziyambi backed Abia Mujere.

In Midlands, tension has been rising after Minister of State for National Security in the President’s Office Owen Ncube announced his intention to stand in the provincial elections. The post of the province’s chairperson will also be contested by Mayor Wadyajena.

In Masvingo business is no longer usual as those who are against the leadership of Ezra Chadzamira are already fighting for him to be caged over allegations that recently saw him being arrested by the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission.

Chadzamira was saved from appearing before court after the intervention of the National Prosecuting Authority who ordered that he be released.

“Those who are not in Chadzamira’s corner are already exposing his shenanigans so that voters can dump him for the preferred Engelbert Rugeje,” a Zanu Pf source in Masvingo told Zim Morning Post.

In Mashonaland Central, the ruling party’s chairman for the province Kazembe Kazembe whose back has been against the ropes in the province is facing accusations of plotting to manipulate the province’s political district elections to swing the outcome to his favour.

Kazembe will be challenged in impeding provincial elections by former Education minister Lazarus Dokora, businessman James Makamba and former MP Christopher Chitindi, among others.

However, the battle lines are already being drawn at the party district elections that got underway on Monday running up to September 26.

Dokora was last week targeted by internal party rivals who used claw hammers to smash the former minister’s vehicle.

Recently Kazembe and Ziyambi Ziyambi (before he left chairperson position) announced co-options in their various provinces but they were later nullified by the party’s Commissariat.

Zanu PF’s acting national political commissar Patrick Chinamasa responded by banning all co-options, arguing they were divisive.

The district elections are part of Zanu PF’s massive root-and-branch shake-up which will see its entire structures, right from the cell to the central committee, being reconfigured.

However, the divisions caused by the restructuring process could split the party ahead of the 2023 elections. Zanu PF will hope that they have pulled the plug on the skirmishes by suspending provincial elections.