ZANU-PF in state of paralysis
THE restructuring of ZANU-PF which swung into top gear early this year is now in limbo owing to growing disunity, wrangling and apathy across party structures, the Financial Gazette can report.
Otherwise meant to rejuvenate the ruling party after it severed ties with several of its former bigwigs, the exercise stalled three months ago as infighting in President Robert Mugabe’s party spiralled out of control.
ZANU-PF’s commissariat department, which is spearheading the restructuring, has been brought back to the drawing board to see how the challenges could be overcome. When the programme started, it had been envisaged that it would be completed in March.
In order to provide checks and balances, senior Politburo members were assigned to oversee the restructuring in each of the party’s 10 provinces with Saviour Kasukuwere, the national political commissar, presiding over the entire process.
Six months down the line, the process has come off the rails, plunging the governing party into serious turbulence.
The Financial Gazette can reveal that the majority of the senior Politburo members who had been assigned to lead the verification of structures have failed to make any headway owing to logistical and administrative nightmares.
Some have since abandoned the process after failing to garner support from the structures, while others could just not be bothered.
In Mashonaland Central, Kembo Mohadi, the designated Politburo member, is said to have gone AWOL as there is nothing happening on the ground.
“Nothing is happening here. We saw Mohadi only once when he came to explain the details of the restructuring exercise at a Provincial Coordinating Committee meeting back in April. Since then, there have been attempts to verify cells; the attempts were successful in some districts but were disastrous in many places,” said a party insider.
Party secretary for legal affairs, Patrick Chinamasa, who was supposed to oversee the exercise in Bulawayo, has never visited the province, leaving the duty to Pupurai Togarepi, the ZANU-PF Youth League boss.
Togarepi, who was assigned to superintend the restructuring in the absence of Chinamasa, has had a torrid time trying to put things in order as fights have exploded.
Old battle lines have been drawn in Bulawayo between ousted ZANU-PF Bulawayo provincial chairman, Callistus Ndlovu and the ambitious George Mlala, who has since taken over the chair in the interim.
In Harare, the exercise has been abandoned as provincial leaders are locked in a nasty battle for influential positions in internal elections to be held soon.
Violent clashes have been reported between feuding camps. At the weekend, youths believed to be aligned to Harare provincial political commissar, Shadreck Mashayamombe, exchanged blows with those aligned to suspended provincial youth chairman, Godwin Gomwe.
Gomwe, who is appearing at the Harare magistrates’ court facing extortion charges, was booted out by party youths in the capital but his position will only be declared vacant if ratified by the Politburo.
Fights have also been witnessed in the main wing, with the controversial Goodwills Masimirembwa being shown the door and Robert Kahanana assuming the reigns as Harare’s acting chair.
While Kahanana seeks to establish his foothold in Harare, he faces stiff competition from Mashayamombe, who is believed to be vying for the chairmanship of the influential province.
According to insiders, ZANU-PF secretary for science and technology, Jonathan Moyo, is the only one who has been consistently visiting Matabeleland South which he supervises, while some are said to have never set foot in their allocated provinces. The province is said to be ahead of the others.
With the exception of Senate president, Edna Madzongwe, who has had to make frequent travels to Mashonaland East to attend to a series of fire-fighting missions, the rest are said to have only visited their respective provinces just once.
Mashonaland East, for long the symbol of ZANU-PF support, has been the one of the worst affected provinces, with sources saying restructuring meetings had failed to attract meaningful numbers.
Until last month, Mashonaland East was yet to start restructuring its structures due to massive squabbling which prompted Madzongwe and Kasukuwere to resort to outsourcing personnel from other provinces to try and sort the mess.
The election of Joel Biggie Matiza as the new substantive provincial chairman is expected to breathe some life in the otherwise troubled province.
In Bulawayo, Manicaland, Mashonaland West, Mashonaland Central, Mashonaland East and Harare, the party is still to finalise cell verification. The cell is the lowest structure of the party comprising 50 positions.
All provinces have failed to start rebuilding structures above the cell, which are the branch, the ward and the district, while other provinces like Harare, Mashonaland West and Masvingo have had acting executives since late last year when ZANU-PF started its massive purging of its members aligned to former vice president, Joice Mujuru, who and many of her allies were either dismissed or suspended from the ZANU-PF on allegations of plotting against President Mugabe.
But six months after the ouster of Mujuru, and her key allies in the top echelons of government and ZANU-PF, ugly infighting continues to hound the revolutionary party across all structures.
Attempts to restructure the lower structures have hit brick walls because party members are boycotting the exercise, resulting in most of the provinces failing to even complete re-organising grassroots structures.
The recent firing of Ziyambi Ziyambi from the Mashonaland West provincial chairmanship and a possible vote of no confidence tailing Manicaland province’s interim chairman, Samuel Undenge, are telling signs of a party that is facing problems in being at peace with itself.
Kasukuwere confirmed that the party is still holed up in at cell stage at a time when restructuring should have risen to higher levels.
He told the Financial Gazette this week that the department would abandon earlier strategies in other provinces and employ the lessons learnt from Mashonaland East whereby it used personnel from a different province to spearhead the restructuring.
In fact, the Politburo – the party’s highest decision making organ outside congress – met yesterday in Harare to look into this matter and others.
“I will present the new programme to the Politburo. We have learnt from the Mashonaland East example and we want to use that template in other provinces,” said Kasukuwere, adding: “We used the Mashonaland East experience as a census where we build the party from the cell level to the branches and then on to the districts and the province. So that will be our template to rebuild structures and verify the authenticity of all our structures.”
Senior ZANU-PF officials from some provinces who spoke to the Financial Gazette off the record said there were fears that the party might not finish the process in time for the 2018 general elections.
They said the unending factional fights had dampened the spirits, resulting in many getting disaffected.
“As we speak, our structures are in shambles. If the truth is to be told, the only real structures that exist currently are the Central Committee and the Politburo. Outside of those, no one knows where they belong save for those provinces that have held elections for substantive provincial executives,” said a senior ZANU-PF member.