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Fireworks Expected in Zanu-PF Politiburo Meeting as Factionalism Worsens

WARRING: First Lady Grace Mugabe and Vice President Joyce Mujuru (Collage by Ntungamili Nkomo)
WARRING: First Lady Grace Mugabe and Vice President Joyce Mujuru (Collage by Ntungamili Nkomo)

Fireworks are expected at Friday’s Zanu-PF Politiburo meeting in Harare when two warring factions in the party come face to face in a make or break meeting ahead of the ruling party crucial December elective congress.

Zanu-PF spokesman Rugare Gumbo could not shed light on the agenda of the meeting referring all questions to party secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa.

Mr. Mutasa, however, did not pick up his mobile phone.

Party insiders told VOA Studio 7, however, that top on the agenda is the feud between First Lady Grace Mugabe and Vice President Joice Mujuru. The alleged attacks on the vice president by the first lady have widened factional fights in the party.

There are allegations that she has taken sides and is supporting the faction led by Justice Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa, which is engaged in a fierce war against a rival faction led by the vice president as they battle to succeed 90-year old President Robert Mugabe.

Senior party official Cephas Msipa told VOA Studio 7 Politburo members want Mr. Mugabe to address the issue.

The party is also expected to discuss calls by the Mnangagwa camp to empower Mr. Mugabe to appoint his two deputies and avoid an election.

But the Mujuru camp, which has the upper hand in the Zanu-PF electorate, is resisting the move.

The party will also discuss its failure to hold elections for the central committee due to conflicts.

Political analyst Shakespear Hamauswa said resolving the Zanu-PF succession dispute will not be easy.

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Meanwhile, as the Politburo will be meeting, Mrs. Mugabe will be hosting some sections of the war veterans and war detainees at her Mazowe orphanage, in Mashonaland Central in what some party insiders say is a show of force and demonstration of her growing influence in the party.

Outspoken war veterans leader Joseph Chinotimba said they have petitioned the first lady to deliver a letter to the president calling for the improvement of their welfare.

But the war veterans are said to be divided with some backing Mrs. Mujuru, a liberation war icon.

Another war veterans leader Jabulani Sibanda says he has not been invited to the Mazowe meeting.

Meanwhile, the unfolding Zanu-PF political drama scripted by Mrs. Mugabe has many observers and the public on tenterhooks, wondering how things are likely to play out when those that she has so virulently attacked, decide enough is enough.

The first lady, accompanied by officials from the Mnangagwa faction, escalated long-simmering tensions recently when she repeatedly criticised Mrs. Mujuru and her allies, calling her corrupt and accusing her of attempting to overthrow President Mugabe.

The Mujuru camp has largely remained silent, and their silence has many wondering what they are up to.

For perspective, VOA Studio 7’s Ntungamili Nkomo reached a Pretoria-based commentator Dinizulu Macaphulana, the first person to write about Mrs. Mugabe’s political ambitions.

Macaphulana said it is possible that Mr. Mugabe wants his wife to succeed him.