Factional differences continue to roil Zimbabwe's former ruling ZANU-PF party with senior members in eastern Masvingo province said to have urged Vice President Joice Mujuru to suggest that President Robert Mugabe carry out a mini-Cabinet reshuffle to drop Tourism Minister Walter Mzembi.
The Masvingo branch of the party is embroiled in a factional dispute with some members of the provincial executive, said by sources to be led by Higher Education Minister Stan Mudenge, seeking Mzembi’s recall.
Masvingo ZANU-PF Chairman Lovemore Matuke told VOA Studio 7 reporter Blessing Zulu that no one has approached Mujuru
Political sources said the Mudenge-led group is bitter because Mzembi backed Mujuru's reappointment at a December party congress when the provincial leadership was supporting rival Oppah Muchinguri. Analysts said the Mzembi imbroglio is linked to the ZANU-PF succession dispute - President Mugabe will turn 86 in February with no clear successor lined up, though Defense Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa is believed to have the inside track.
Mzembi's adversaries in Masvingo say he has become too close to Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, founder of the former opposition Movement for Democratic Change. Mzembi traveled with Mr. Tsvangirai's delegation to the United States in Europe in June on a re-engagement mission.
Political analyst John Makumbe of the University of Zimbabwe said divisions in Masvingo are symptomatic of continuing fractures in the larger party.