President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s orders to Zanu PF supporters to close ranks after divisive primary elections are being defied with evidence mounting of widening divisions over the ruling party’s election candidates.
Mnangagwa is expected to announce the date for this year’s elections tomorrow amid threats by Zanu PF supporters to vote against ruling party candidates that were allegedly imposed during primary elections held in March.
The internal polls were run by the Central Intelligence Organisation-backed Forever Association Zimbabwe (FAZ) in conjunction with Heritage Trust, which is linked to the military.
Zanu PF has been struggling to mobilise supporters to attend campaign meetings as they continue to protest against the imposition of candidates.
On May 25, Zanu PF supporters heckled Uzumba Maramba Pfungwe district political commissar, one Mrs Thebe, who was in the company of FAZ members during a meeting at the Kafura Rural District Council offices in Mashonaland East.
The meeting was organised to mobilise support for Maramba Constituency candidate Tichaona Karimazondo.
Thebe said she was sent by the Zanu PF leadership to unite the supporters around Karimazonodo, who won in the primaries.
“What I am saying is, I have been sent by the party; you can accept or reject that, I don’t care,” Thebe said.
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All hell broke loose when she mentioned Karimazondo’s name as the candidate.
Zanu PF supporters heckled her and broke into song and dance, saying they were tired of being used to endorse worthless things.
The meeting ended prematurely.
An unidentified FAZ member tried to threaten the protestors saying by rejecting Karimazondo they were rejecting Mnangagwa.
Two weeks ago, Midlands Provincial Affairs minister Larry Mavima also ended a meeting at Chief Chireya’s homestead prematurely after Zanu PF supporters booed him.
They rejected Torerai Moyo, who was announced as the winning candidate while evidence showed Jeremiah Ndukulani came out tops.
Zanu PF supporters have been boycotting meetings in the Midlands province protesting against the rigged elections.
Early this month, only 17 supporters attended a meeting by Flora Buka, a winning candidate in Gokwe-Nembudziya.
Buka beat favourite Justice Mayor Wadyajajena twice, but the outgoing MP still insists the polls were rigged by FAZ in favour of the former Cabinet minister.
After the fiasco at Chief Chireya’s homestead, Zanu PF provincial administrator Passmore Washaya wrote to all Zanu PF members of staff in the Midlands, district coordinating committee chairpersons and senior provincial members not to release any document that was not sanctioned by former State Security minister Owen Ncube.
“The Midlands province has its own security head, Cde Owen Ncube (Mudha),” part of the letter dated May 24 read.
“Section 101 (1) gives powers to Cde Mudha of being the chief security of the party in the Midlands Province.
“In that regard, no party document or information should leave any of our offices without approval.”
Washaya confirmed that he authored the letter.
"Its a party regulation,” he said.
“Every institution has its own regulation.
“Do you work for Zanu PF?
“Are you telling me that your organisation is perfect?
“So what's the problem with Zanu PF having its own regulations?"
Zanu PF political commissar Mike Bimha said the party was organising a healing process for losing candidates.
"It will come to pass. It’s part of the healing process. We are holding meetings within the party,” Bimha said.
“We are organising various programmes to unite winning and losing candidates.
“Eventually, there will be harmony if there are areas where some party members are aggrieved with the winning candidates."
The divisions over candidates are said to be worse in Masvingo where Zanu PF supporters accuse the Robson Mavhenyengwa executive of taking bribes from aspiring candidates and rigging the polls in their favour.
In Gutu East where a popular candidate George Vhengere, who was initially announced by Bimha as the winner was upstaged by Benjamin Ganyiwa, who is believed to be a close ally of the ruling party’s national secretary for security Lovemore Matuke. Ruling party supporters in the area threatened a protest vote.
They accuse Mavhenyengwa, Matuke and the other provincial heavyweights of betraying the party by trying to impose Ganyiwa on them.
Masvingo South, West and Central, Chiredzi West and Chivi North constituencies are also said to be facing similar problems.
There are also problems in Buhera where FAZ is said to have rigged the polls in favour of Tafadzwa Mugwadi.