By Richard Chidza
HARARE – Chaos marred Zanu PF’s politburo meeting on Wednesday as an internal war to succeed ageing President Robert Mugabe reaches tipping point. So nasty are the differences between warring factions that the party was forced to convene another politburo meeting today to deal with emotive issues, sources said.
The meeting was initially called to discuss a report on the controversial dissolution of grassroots structures called District Coordinating Committees (DCCs) by Mugabe.
The veteran leader claimed he dismantled the DCCs, largely controlled by Defence minister Emmerson Mnangagwa, because they were being used by faction godfathers vying for his post to undermine the party.
Party secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa was expected to present a detailed feedback report on the DCCs dissolution following a countrywide tour. But the commotion that characterised the meeting forced the party to take the rare move of convening a special politburo meeting set for today.
“We ended up discussing the small issue of Daniel Shumba and Goodwill Shiri’s re-admission because there was heckling and shouting as people could not agree on an agenda,” said a source who attended the politburo meeting.”
“Some wanted to discuss the draft constitution first. Others wanted the contentious issue of Mutasa’s report to come first. Mnangagwa’s faction wanted it discussed because it is an indictment on those who advocated for the dissolution of DCCs,” the source said.
The draft constitution and the DCC issues have deepened divisions in the former ruling party because they are all closely tied to Mugabe’s succession. The draft constitution, if adopted, will give the 88-year-old room to sort out his succession problems since presidential candidates are allowed to pick running mates.
Anyone picked by Mugabe to be a running mate is likely to be seen as the anointed successor. Mnangagwa, for long a key contender to Mugabe’s job, could be hurt by this provision since he is way down in Zanu PF, where he is secretary for legal affairs.
His main rival Vice President Joice Mujuru is deputy to Mugabe in both government and the party. The DCCs are contentious because whoever controls the DCCs has an upper hand in the event of a party electoral congress since they form a crucial electoral college.
Zanu PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo confirmed today’s politburo meeting but denied there was pandemonium during Wednesday’s meeting.
“That is a lie. On the issue of DCCs and Mutasa’s report, the meeting agreed to defer them to Friday. There is a lot of indiscipline in the party and we will deal with that, people are spreading rumours,” he said.
Gumbo admitted this week that some party members, particularly in Mnangagwa’s Midlands stronghold, were angry at the disbandment of DCCs and are now calling for the dissolution of the politburo. Some of the disgruntled members say Mugabe failed to consult widely before disbanding the DCCs, an argument Gumbo dismissed.
“There was no need to consult. Who are they that they should be consulted on a decision that has been made? They have to live with it. DCCs are no longer part of Zanu PF machinery,” Gumbo said.
He said the disbandment had nothing to do with factionalism or personalities, but added that DCCs had become a “law unto themselves”.
“The DCCs had become kingmakers, more powerful than even the politburo, but their dissolution had nothing to do with personalities. Why would we do anything against Mnangagwa? He is a long-serving member of the party and a loyal one for that matter,” said Gumbo. Daily News