Some senior Zanu PF officials, including Labour Minister Nicholas Goche and ousted Mashonaland Central chairman Themba Mliswa, have been barred from contesting positions in the Central Committee ahead of the party’s crucial congress next month.
According to Zanu PF activists and various media reports, Goche was ejected from a provincial party meeting in Bindura yesterday, after indicating that he wanted to file papers for Central Committee consideration, as toyi-toying youths accused him of allegedly master-minding attempts to topple President Mugabe.
President Mugabe allegedly took Goche to task at a Politburo meeting Saturday, accusing him of being part of a group calling for his ouster at the elective congress.
Goche, Mliswa, Energy Minister Dzikamai Mavhaire, Environment Minister Francis Nhema, Deputy Education Minister Lazarus Dokora, Deputy Tourism Minister Epmarcus Kanhanga and several others are said to be backing a faction of the party allegedly led by Vice President Joice Mujuru.
Mliswa was overwhelmingly voted into the Central Committee in Hurungwe yesterday but was forced to withdraw by some party activists.
These top Zanu PF and state officials were not available for comment as they did not respond to calls on their mobile phones.
The heightened infighting in the party comes at a time when the Mashonaland West inter-district conference recommended today that the party should make constitutional changes, as recommended by the Politburo on Saturday, which will give President Mugabe powers to appoint his deputies and chairperson at the congress.
In Bulawayo, provincial chairman Callistus Ndlovu, who was recently temporarily ousted by party members, has bounced back at a time the party was today holding Central Committee elections.
Party activist, Joseph Tshuma, says the elections that which end this evening are peaceful.
Political commentator Dumisani Nkomo of Harbakuk Trust argues that President Mugabe appears to be in charge of what is going on in the party. He adds that those that have been dumped may bounce back in the near future.