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Mugabe Appeals for Peace in Zanu PF as Army, Police Join Rival Camps Seeking to Succeed Him

  • Irwin  Chifera

FILE: A Zanu PF supporter at a rally addressed Thursday by First Lady Grace Mugabe. (Taurai Shava)

FILE: A Zanu PF supporter at a rally addressed Thursday by First Lady Grace Mugabe. (Taurai Shava)

President Robert Mugabe on Friday admitted that factionalism is rearing its ugly head in the party and the army, police and intelligence officers are now taking sides in the internal politics of the ruling party.

In a keynote address to the party’s 15th People’s Conference, beamed live on Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation television, in the Victoria Falls Resort, Mr. Mugabe denounced those fanning factionalism and told them to stop it as he was not going anywhere.

In the broadcast that was monitored by Studio 7 in Harare, Mr. Mugabe further said the warring camps must unite and work together for the benefit of the party, adding that Zanu PF would not succeed to do anything if it continued on a divided path.

He said talk that people divided to vice presidents Emmerson Mnangagwa or Phelekezela Mphoko camps should stop saying all people belonged to the party and not to individuals.

Mnangagwa is believed to be leading one camp while Mphoko is said to be in a faction that has the backing of the First Lady Grace Mugabe. The two are also being backed by Young Turks in the party calling themselves the Generation 40 or G40.

Mr. Mugabe bemoaned corruption among party cadres saying they were overcharging people in various community projects.

He said Chinese President Xi Jinping, who visited Zimbabwe last week, had pointed out to him that China was ready to support Zimbabwean projects but wanted to deal with straightforward people.

He said those caught on the wrong side of the law would be prosecuted.

Reacting to the president’s speech, Harare resident, Malvin Mkudu, said Mr. Mugabe was frank about the state affairs in his party and that he wants it addressed.

Another resident, Mlondolozi Ndhlovu, said Mr. Mugabe’s accusations that the security sector is now interfering in Zanu PF’s affairs is an admission that factionalism has reached unprecedented levels.

Some opposition political parties dismissed Mr. Mugabe’s speech saying it was uninspiring.

People’s Democratic Party spokesman, Jacob Mafume, said there was nothing to take home from Mr. Mugabe’s speech as the nation is marooned in an island of despair.

He added that though a young nation, Zimbabwe was feeling as old as Mr. Mugabe.

Spokesperson of the Movement for Democratic Change formation led by Professor Welshman Ncube, Kurauone Chihwai, said on-goings in Zanu PF confirm that it would not survive beyond 2018.

Mr. Mugabe said the conference was not an elective event but was meant to take stock of the state of the party as well as developments in government.

After Mr. Mugabe’s speech, portfolio secretaries started presenting reports on the state of the economy and policies that the government is implementing.

The conference which started early this week ends Saturday.