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Despite Truce, More Strife Seen in Zanu PF

Protagonists in the escalating Zanu PF power struggles, Justice Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa and Vice President Joyce Mujuru. (Collage by VOA's Ntungamili Nkomo)

Zanu PF's warring factions may have agreed to smoke the peace pipe following a high-stakes politburo meeting lasting 10 hours Wednesday, but observers are skeptical the truce will hold.

The party is engaged in a brutal succession war pitting two camps allegedly led by Justice Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa and Vice President Joyce Mujuru.

The previously dormant tensions have lately exploded into a fireball that has seen officials trading invectives and recriminations to discredit each other.

And on Wednesday the two formations came face-to-face in a special politburo session that condemned the infighting and encouraged rivals to close ranks.

“Those were things which were discussed, and the resolution was that the party had to remain united and move as a team,” party spokesman Rugare Gumbo said.

But given the gravity of the aspersions and the succession stakes, the odds of unity in Zanu PF are nonexistent, at least according to political analyst Briggs Bomba.

"You have thoroughly entrenched factional fights in Zanu PF, and there is no way that a 10-hour meeting would wipe off the vested interests on succession that are driving the fighting," Bomba opined.

“We are far from seeing the end of factionalism in Zanu PF, basically, until a successor is clearly in place and you have a new order – a new post-Mugabe order in place.”

Though they both vehemently deny heading factions, Mujuru and Mnangagwa are dueling for vantage point to succeed 90-year-old President Robert Mugabe as party leader if he decides to step aside.

An elective Congress due in December, where a new Zanu PF leadership will be chosen, has aggravated the tensions, leading to physical fights at times.