Hardliners in Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF were expected during a meeting Wednesday of its politburo to press for the ouster of senior members whose ties to US diplomats were revealed by Wikileaks releases of American cables.
ZANU-PF sources said a clique led by ZANU-PF Secretary for Administration Didymus Mutasa - a minister of state attached to Mr. Mugabe's office - Chairman Simon Khaya Moyo, party spokesman Rugare Gumbo and Political Commissar Webster Shamu was urging the party to expel or suspend senior officials quoted in the cables.
But some of those referenced in the US diplomatic reports, including Vice Presidents Joice Mujuru and John Nkomo, and Defense Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa, seen as a contender to succeed Mr. Mugabe, have hit back accusing Mutasa and Khaya Moyo of seizing on the Wikileaks revelations to further their own presidential ambitions.
Khaya Moyo told VOA Studio 7 reporter Blessing Zulu that Mutasa as the secretary for administration will determine if the Wikileaks issue is tabled tomorrow.
Analysts said hardliners have been pressing Mr. Mugabe to take action as ZANU-PF has long maintained a defiant stance vis à vis Western governments. Many observers were surprised how many top ZANU-PF officials confided in American diplomats.
Political analyst Charles Mangongera told Violet Gonda that the Wikileaks revelations are fodder for rival factions in ZANU-PF and some realignment could be in store.