WASHINGTON DC —
President Robert Mugabe has expressed alarm at the level of divisions in his ruling Zanu-PF party calling for a moratorium on the issuing of votes of no confidence in the party that have led to the suspension and expulsion of party members.
Mr. Mugabe addressed the media shortly before chairing the Central Committee meeting which was expected to produce fireworks as it is dealing with issues that are threatening to split the party again after the expulsion of those sympathetic to former Vice President Joice Mujuru.
"There is said to be now these groups following the leadership, and the leaderships are not very clear, that they would want to see lead the party...and so, we have a problem at the moment that threatens to split the party," Mr Mugabe said.
Mr Mugabe also castigated some members for allegedly spreading rumours, "Then there are lies, formulation of lies, manufacturing of lies, talking about the purported actions of people which never happened."
The majority of those targeted for purging are linked to a faction allegedly led by Vice President Emmerson Mnangangwa. The latest victims are influential Womens’ League members, spokesperson Monica Mutsvangwa and secretary for administration Espinah Nhari who have been recommended for expulsion. The two are being accused of insubordination for allegedly defying First Lady Grace Mugabe.
The majority of the party’s provinces want to revert to the old constitution that guaranteed a post for a woman in the presidium. The development insiders say is aimed at removing Mnangagwa and replacing him with Mrs. Mugabe.
Director of the Zimbabwe Democracy Institute Pedzisayi Ruhanya says he is not amused by Mnangangwa’s silence as his members are being decimated.
"I think if you look at the history of Mnangagwa in all the power struggles in Zanu (PF) that have taken place this far, Mnangagwa is usually guided by what President Robert Mugabe says, so his quitness is a strategy to read what the president wants and once the president says something, Mngangagwa has always been an obedient son."
Meanwhile, some residents of the resort town of Victoria Falls, where Zanu PF is set to hold its annual conference, say police have declared an unofficial curfew as they clamp down against perceived opposition supporters.
The conference unofficially kicked off on Monday and is expected to be officially opened by President Mugabe on Friday.
Some tour operators, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the large number of police and plainclothes details in the country’s premier resort town was intimidating visitors.
MDC-T provincial chairman for Matabeleland North, Thembinkosi Sibindi told Studio 7 that police are victimizing residents.
Mr Mugabe may have been sworn-in in 2013 and his term ending in 2018, but his advanced age and frequent trips to seek medical attention in the far East are said to be fueling succession fights in his party.
Mr Mugabe is turning 92 next February but some members of his party are pushing him to stay in power and coming up with a resolution that he must be declared "President for Life."