By Jack Dube|
Zanu PF leader Robert Mugabe has moved in to end a potent revolt by party members loyal to faction leader Emmerson Mnangagwa, who have vowed to unseat Joyce Mujuru, who is next in line to succeed the ailing dictator.
Mugabe chaired an explosive extraordinary meeting of his party’s supreme Soviet-style politburo Saturday.
Party sources said the meeting degenerated into an unscheduled slanging match about party ranks.
“Those loyal to Mujuru asserted that she is already the most senior official after Mugabe and will take over from him if the president dies or leaves office. There is no question of an election; it’s automatic,” said a party source.
Mugabe is said to have agreed, in an apparent attempt to pacify Mujuru’s powerful backers, who include party administrator Didimus Mutasa and commissar Webster Shamu.
The Mujuru faction had been angered by Mnangagwa loyalist Jonathan Moyo, who openly contradicted party spokesman Rugare Gumbo over contentious results of the Mashonaland Central province vote. The information minister, who was recently re-admitted into the party through the back door by Mugabe after being sacked for disloyalty, had stated that Mujuru should be subjected to an election instead of just being handed the presidency.
“Yes, that subject was discussed,” Zanu PF spokesman Rugare Gumbo told a journalist. “We had that debate. Obviously, Mai Mujuru is in the presidium and she can not be challenged because in Zanu PF we respect the issue of seniority – we have a hierarchy and that is that.”
Mnangagwa faction members, who control the public media, apparently wanted to use the ongoing disputed provincial elections to prepare the ground for toppling Mujuru at the 2014 Zanu PF elective congress. The faction’s members have lost the top posts in all three provinces where results have been declared so far. Mugabe brushed aside complaints from Mnangagwa faction members who alleged the elections were rigged and marred by logistical problems.
Gumbo said the politburo resolved to hold elections in the remaining seven provinces on November 30.
But party insiders insist the dispute is far from over.
By Jack Dube|