War Veterans, party militia, members of the Women’s League, ex-political detainees, war collaborators and Senior Zanu PF officials, fought running battles amongst each other leaving stunned onlookers at Harare Fourth Street Bus Station running for cover as guns, clubs, half bricks, machete wielding members of Robert Mugabe’s beleaguered Zanu PF fought for control of the party’s Harare provincial executive.
Robert Mugabe wants to oust the Amos Midzi led executive before the December party Congress.
A number of riot police officers tried to impose peace and tranquillity, but they were disarmed and ended up nursing injuries and some are reported to be having injuries threatening their lives.
Shots were fired in the air to calm down the violence, but other party faithful led by Elliot Manyika, the party’s political Commissar, not to be outdone, pulled out their own guns waved them in the air threatening to shoot police officers.
Some War veterens were seen rolling on the ground with sticks immitating guns, in war moves.
Members of the army in green barrets from the Commando Barracks and PG (Presidential Guard) were called in to help the hapless police officers and a man was fatally shot dead for refusing to disarm.
Our reporter who was having a drink at Raylton Sports club managed to speak with one Zanu PF official who had taken refuge in the Sports club toilet and he said the party provincial branch of Harare was planning a vote of no confidence in Robert Mugabe at the Congress, next month and he said there is growing disgruntlement in the party with all forces for change tilted against the embattled leader.
The violence follows a petition to the party President Robert Mugabe asking him to dismiss chairperson Amos Midzi for his alleged “history of counter-revolutionary activities” and failure to lead the party to victory in the March elections. In the petition, the Zanu PF activists pleaded with Mugabe to expel the Zanu PF provincial executive council led by Midzi whom they accused of incompetence and reducing the party to a laughing stock.
They asked Mugabe to appoint an interim provincial executive council. The activists also wanted Midzi and his council to be removed for failing to endorse Mugabe at the 2006 Goromonzi annual people’s conference as the party’s sole presidential candidate for the 2008 elections.Knives are out for Midzi, the Minister of Mines and Mining Development, for also failing to come up with a campaign programme for Zanu PF for the 2008 harmonised elections.
“(Midzi must be expelled for) failure to assist Zanu PF candidates during the campaign period leading up to the 29th March elections, despite being availed with motor vehicles and fuel for the party,” the petition read. It also said Midzi should be expelled “failure to support His Excellency the President during the opening of parliament leaving the opposition to embarrass and humiliate His Excellency the President and first secretary of Zanu PF.”
They said the Harare province was to blame for the heckling of Mugabe at the September 15 signing of an all-inclusive government agreement.
They said the Harare province was to blame for the heckling of Mugabe at the September 15 signing of an all-inclusive government agreement between Mugabe and leaders of two MDC formations — Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara — because it failed to mobilise Zanu PF members to attend the ceremony.
“The failure was deliberate and meant to ensure that the party remains weak and disorganised in Harare,” the petition read.The petitioners claimed that Harare province executives were buying votes to ensure their victory in November 30’s provincial elections.
The province was accused of failing to comply with the party’s constitution, regulations and guidelines. Instead “it was falsifying records of cells and branches of the party so as to ensure that the elections of the district executives scheduled for November 8 will be in their” favour.
The petition read: “Members of the party are being hoodwinked by the provincial executive committee which is dishing out money and goods to branch and district executive members under the false guise of poverty alleviation.
“The project is highly selective targeting those occupying the top six positions of each branch or district. The objective is to buy their votes. Party members are being exploited and abused because of the economic hardships in the country,” said the petitioners.
Sources in Zanu PF claimed the petition was signed at the behest of Harare South MP Hubert Nyanhongo and chairperson of the National Incomes and Pricing Commission chairperson Goodwills Masimirembwa.
Nyanhongo is eyeing the chairmanship while Masimirembwa reportedly wants to be a member of the provincial executive.
On Wednesday hordes of Zanu PF youths attempted to forcibly close the party’s provincial offices.
Nyanhongo recently said Zanu PF in Harare was full of traitors and sellouts and they should be dealt with before the conference in Bindura in December.
The legislator declined to comment on the matter.
Masimirembwa last month was reported to have said Zanu PF should flush out leaders who were not backing Mugabe, especially in Harare. This was reportedly in apparent reference to Midzi.
However, he denied singling out Midzi, but blamed the whole provincial executive.
Masimirembwa said: “I never singled out Amos Midzi. It was a complete lie. What I can confirm as to have said was that the general performance of Harare province during the March 29 election was very bad, just to get one seat won by Nyanhongo.”