WASHINGTON DC —
Fresh in-fighting has flared up in the ruling Zanu-PF party as the jostling for President Robert Mugabe’s position deepens with dossiers of alleged vote rigging and manipulation of the state-controlled media being the latest political weapons of choice.
The party has postponed crucial elections in eight provinces scheduled for Saturday as chaos and trading of barbs becomes the order of the day.
Disputed elections have been held in Manicaland, Midlands and Mashonaland Central provinces. There are allegations of vote buying, massive rigging and voter intimidation.
Vice President Joice Mujuru and Justice Minister Emerson Mnangagwa are said to be fueling factionalism in the party as they prepare to take over from Mr. Mugabe. Others are arguing that the seniority in the party should be respected as the party starts to prepare for President Mugabe’s departure.
The two Zanu-PF politicians have consistently denied that they lead factions with Mnangagwa even taking legal action against the Zimbabwe Independent newspaper.
Party insiders told VOA Studio 7 that the two camps are “burning the midnight oil” as they plot the succession matrix.
The wrangle has spilled into newspapers with allegations that Information Minister Jonathan Moyo, linked to the Mnangagwa faction, has been using his influence in the media to attack the Mujuru faction.
Party spokesman Rugare Gumbo told VOA Studio 7 he was in a meeting but confirmed there is a Politiburo meeting on Saturday to discuss the problematic elections and related issues.
Mr. Mugabe, who is in Kuwait for the Afro-Asia Summit, is expected to be back in Harare in time for the meeting.
The Herald though claims it is playing its watch dog role by pointing out problems in Zanu-PF. Some in the party note the newspaper is targeting the Mujuru faction.
Political analyst Earnest Mudzengi said Mr. Mugabe’s unresolved succession issue is at the centre of the heightened friction in the party.