‘Tsholotsho ghost’ haunts Zanu PF

ZANU PF resolved to amend the party’s constitution last week apparently to deal with Defence minister Emmerson Mnangagwa’s ambitions to succeed President Robert Mugabe ahead of his bitter rival Vice-President Joice Mujuru.

This  follows his seizure of the District Co-ordinating Committee (DCC) structures after recent internal elections, in a move which shows the 2004 “Tsholotsho ghost” is still haunting the party.

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This  follows his seizure of the District Co-ordinating Committee (DCC) structures after recent internal elections, in a move which shows the 2004 “Tsholotsho ghost” is still haunting the party.

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The Mnangagwa faction was poised to take firm control of the provinces through the DCC structures after winning in most areas against the Mujuru faction. Controlling the DCCs would have enabled him to influence the provinces and central committee and politburo as well as congress, meaning they were of strategic importance on succession.

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The DCC polls were, however, tarnished by acrimony, protests over intimidation, vote-buying, flawed voters’ rolls and ballot rigging, forcing Mugabe to publicly denounce factions and their leaders saying they were destroying the party.

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As infighting, fuelled by succession battles, spread across party structures, Zanu PF was recently forced to hold an extraordinary politburo meeting to deal with the issue. In that meeting, Mujuru breathed fire and vowed to crack down on those opposed to her leadership. The politburo met again last week on Wednesday and resolved to dissolve the DCCs after it became clear Zanu PF would approach the next elections deeply divided, risking losing elections and sabotaging Mugabe’s prospects of re-election like in 2008.

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Zanu PF secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa said the DCCs were disbanded because they were being used by those fighting to succeed Mugabe and had resultantly become destabilising. 

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After suffering defeat in DCC elections in its own backyard, Mashonaland Central, and in most of the other provinces, the Mujuru faction resorted to the same strategy it used in 2004 to stop Mnangagwa when it proposed, through the Women’s League, an amendment to the party constitution to stipulate that one of the vice-presidents should be a woman. This was done after it became apparent Mnangagwa had the support of seven out of 10 provinces, giving him enough nominations to take up the position of vice-president.

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The party constitution was subsequently amended to state that one of the vice-presidents had to be a woman, effectively knocking Mnangagwa out of the race. The amendment then also meant the only way Mnangagwa could be vice-president was if the late vice-president Joseph Msika had resigned or lost the nominations.

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Mnangagwa’s faction tried to fight back by fielding the late Women’s League chairperson, Thenjiwe Lesabe against Msika, but she lost. – The Independent