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Mugabe's Zanu PF Party Under Pressure to Hold Off Calling For Early Elections As Factionalism Deepens

As factionalism worsens in President Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF party, the top leaders, known as the presidium, is under increasing pressure to hold off calling for early general elections.

Some senior party officials told VOA that there are concerned by factionalism and that the party is yet to come up with a date for primary elections though there are pushing for elections as early as next month.

The presidium consists of Mr. Mugabe, vice president Joyce Mujuru and party chairman Simon Khaya Moyo. Mr Mugabe has been calling for elections by June 29.

Masvingo province has seen so much party-infighting lately that party chairman Khaya Moyo and a probe team are expected to be in the province by Friday to deal with the crisis.

That according to Newsday, quoting party political commissar Trainos Huruva. Other insiders say there are accusations that party provincial chairman Lovemore Matuke, said to be in the faction led by defense minister Emmerson Mnangagwa, is refusing to take orders from Mujuru, who is said to belong to a rival faction.

VOA tried to reach Matuke and Huruva by phone, but was unsuccessful. Party spokesman Rugare Gumbo told VOA that Khaya Moyo team will be in Masvingo.

But he said the party is ready for an early election as the alleged factionalism is not a "serious concern".

A similar team dispatched to Manicaland suspended the executive and imposed an acting chairman. The party also demoted its Matabeleland chairman for failing to deliver.

Nationally, the party has not held primary elections as it cannot agree on the rules and qualifications for candidates.

Zimbabwe Democracy Institute director Pedzisai Ruhanya attributes the factionalism to president Mugabe’s age, saying that the president’s failure to groom a successor within the party has others vying for his job. Mr. Mugabe turned 89 this year and has been in power since 1980.
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