Rifts are widening in Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF party with a third faction emerging as the fight to take over from the veteran leader intensifies.
Army General Constantine Chiwenga is reportedly the leader of the third group in ZANU-PF that is positioning itself to take over in the event of Mr. Mugabe giving up political office. Sources in the party say the former liberation fighter has presidential ambitions.
Two prominent factions have existed in ZANU-PF for years now, one led by Defense Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa and the other by the late army General Solomon Mujuru. His wife, vice president Joice Mujuru, is now the Godmother of the faction following her husband’s mysterious death last August.
Former Information Minister and Tsholotsho North Member of Parliament, Jonathan Moyo, is Chiwenga’s chief strategist, sources say.
Analysts say factionalism in ZANU-PF cost President Mugabe votes as his party's candidates won more parliamentary votes than him in the bloody 2008 harmonized election.
ZANU-PF spokesman Rugare Gumbo told VOA Studio 7 reporter Jonga Kandemiiri he's not aware of the divisions in his party. But he concedes there are "fierce" debates in ZANU-PF on issues affecting the country and how the party can strategize and win elections President Mugabe wants this year.
Policy and research director Charles Mangongera of the Tsvangirai MDC formation, said ZANU-PF should put its house in order or face a repeat of the 2008 elections scenario where it was forced into a coalition government after failing to win enough parliamentary seats.