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Mugabe's Party Set for High-Stakes Politburo Meeting Amid Divisions

The supreme decision-making body of Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe's Zanu PF party will convene a crucial meeting in Harare Wednesday amid rising tensions in the party.

Top on the Politburo's agenda is the disbanding of the District Coordinating Committees and the party’s position on the draft charter that has now been handed over to Parliament by the Select Committee.

The two issues have become the latest lightning rod in the party. In what party insiders are calling a shocking development, Midlands province has rejected the dismantling of the district committees.

The province has also gone as further as calling on the party’s presidium to be disbanded. Midlands is home to presidential aspirant, Defense Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa, among other party stalwarts including spokesman Rugare Gumbo.

Senior party officials are also publicly trading barbs on the constitution. Some hardliners led by Tsolotsho lawmaker Jonathan Moyo want the party to reject the draft. But the party’s chairman in COPAC, Munyaradzi Paul Mangwana is defending the draft.

Fireworks are expected when Mangwana officially unveils the draft for discussion at the Politburo meeting. Another thorny issue is the "terror group" Chipangano that has divided Zanu PF in Harare.

Some officials say the militant group is not only tarnishing the party's image but also targeting opponents within the party.

The group, which operates with impunity has been extorting money from residents and openly campaigning for Zanu PF in elections.

Party Secretary for Administration Didymus Mutasa ordered the party's Harare province chairman Amos Midzi to disband the notorious group.

Midzi refused to comment on the directive. But Zanu PF Youth Chairman Jim Kunaka, alleged to be the leader of the group, told VOA that Chipangano does not exist.

Political analyst John Makumbe of the University of Zimbabwe, who’s aligned to the Movement for Democratic Change of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai says factionalism is tearing Zanu PF apart.