Mujuru fights to save late brother’s faction
By Nqaba Matshazi and Nunurai Jena
Fresh divisions have rocked Zanu PF with information emerging that battle lines have been drawn in Mashonaland East where the restructuring of district coordinating committees (DCCs) has been marred by chaos.
In Mashonaland West, party bigwigs want the provincial chairman, John Mafa’s head, while in Mashonaland Central the two warring factions have declared a temporary ceasefire.
Sources told The Standard yesterday that the party was still battling to come up with structures in different parts of the country during the resumed DCC elections amid allegations of candidate imposition and factionalism.
On Friday, the sources said there was chaos during the Mudzi DCC elections in a province which has traditionally been a stronghold of the faction led by Vice-President Joice Mujuru, but is now seeing the emergence of the faction led by Defence minister Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Already the party’s politburo has come down hard on its political commissar, Webster Shamu to ensure DCC elections are run smoothly, while where there is contention, polls are being rerun. But if the chaotic scenes in Mudzi South are an indicator, the party has a long way to go.
A source who was in Mudzi South on Friday said most of the district was tense, as party members sang, toyi-toyed and at times threatened to assault party leaders whom they thought were responsible for imposing candidates.
Joel Mujuru, brother to the late Solomon Mujuru, was at the receiving end of some of the harshest criticism and was allegedly almost assaulted at Gozi.
“Mujuru came with a list of people, whom he said were supposed to win the elections,” the source said. “Zanu PF members started singing that they did not want disorder and that is when they started charging at Mujuru.”
The source said Mujuru, a Zanu PF National Consultative Assembly member who was responsible for running the elections, had to be saved by Harare lawyer Jonathan Samukange, a crowd favourite, whom he ironically wanted to disqualify from the DCC elections.
As if that was not enough, Mujuru, travelling with Peter Nyakuba, had to make a hasty retreat at Chikwizo, as the people there pelted his car with missiles, also accusing him of imposing candidates.
“Again he went with a list saying these were the people that had been chosen and there was no need for elections, earning the wrath of the people there,” the source continued.
It is believed that the Mujuru faction was trying to ensure that Samukange loses alleging that he had not been in the party structures for five years. “Two other candidates, Tafirenyika Nyume and Zvai Kaukonde, were told to withdraw their candidature to make way for Chanhasi,” the source said.
Samukange, believed to be loyal to Mnangagwa, is allegedly being frustrated after making it public he wanted to challenge provincial chairman, Ray Kaukonde’s post, a key member of the Mujuru grouping. Samukange said he was going to appeal to Shamu and party national chairman, Simon Khaya Moyo.
“This five-year thing is not true, I was a commissar in 1996 and as candidate in primary elections in 2000, how can it be said I have not been in the structures for five years,” Samukange charged in an interview yesterday.
Samukange said the district had made it clear that they would not accept anyone imposed on them. “Mujuru said there was no need for an election as there was only one candidate and the people said they will not have that. That is why there was chaos,” he said.
But Mujuru shot back, saying Samukange was ineligible to stand in the elections as he did not meet the criteria. “I am the one who put Samukange in the branch structures, but in this election only people from district level and those in the DCC could contest,” he said. “The people may want him, but he does not meet the criteria.
Mujuru said as far as he was concerned, Chanhasi had won the seat uncontested. Zimbabwe Standard