Zimbabwe

Zanu-PF aims for unity

02 December 2018 - 00:00 By JAMES THOMPSON

Zanu-PF will attempt to show unity amid a chorus of dissent at the party's conference scheduled for this month in Esigodini, outside Bulawayo.
It will be Zanu-PF's first conference since Robert Mugabe was forced out of power in November 2017.
A Zanu-PF insider said the fissures in the party would not affect the conference because the biggest challenge facing the party was the economy.
"There are many 'big boys' who are not happy that they were not included in the post-election cabinet. They were retired to party activities and the conference is their fortè. However, they know where power lies and none of them have the courage to start a fire because most of them have potential corruption charges hanging over their heads. It's going to be smooth," he said.
The Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association, one of the party's key wings behind the removal of Mugabe, has been calling for the dismissal of the party's secretary for administration, Obert Mpofu, for the past few months.
Its petition says: "Mpofu needs to clear the corruption allegations levelled against him before resuming office. Failure to do so, we, as veterans of the liberation struggle, shall force [former cabinet ministers] out of their offices for the good of the people's revolution."
Some war vets want their leader, Christopher Mutsvangwa, expelled. But that can only be done at the organisation's conference. Mutsvangwa is alleged to have been "sowing divisions" within the presidency.
"There have been episodes of conflict in the presidium," said the source. "Even Mutsvangwa spoke about it in relation to a businessman who at one point put the president and one of his deputies [vice-president Constantino Chiwenga] on a collision course."
However, President Emmerson Mnangagwa and Chiwenga have recently been seen together in public supporting each other.
After Mugabe was ousted it was widely believed Mnangagwa would serve one term and then hand over to Chiwenga.
However, after the July 30 elections, the Zanu-PF Youth League has been publicly chanting the "ED Pfee 2023" slogan, implying that Mnangagwa is the party's choice for presidential elections in five years.
Chiwenga has had to put his presidential ambitions on ice. During a rally last week at Murombedzi Growth Point in Mashonaland West he praised his boss. "There is no vacancy and there were those who were recently speaking recklessly; they need to keep quiet. There is nothing he [Mnangagwa] has done wrong, he fears God and responds to what the heavens ask of him."
For the conference, each of the country's 10 provinces are expected to raise $50,000 and five cattle to feed an expected 5,000 delegates who will converge for six days.
Last year the number of days were reduced to three and the budget was cut from $8m to less than $1m because the party was trying to contain Mugabe loyalists...

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