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Violence Grips Zanu PF as Factions Clash Ahead of Elective Congress

FILE: Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and his wife Grace wave to supporters and guests during celebrations to mark his 90th birthday, Marondera,Feb. 23,2014.

President Robert Mugabe is in Vienna, Austria, at a United Nations meeting preaching regional unity as his ruling Zanu-PF party continues to implode due to ongoing serious factional fights ahead of its elective congress next month.

Mr. Mugabe addressed the summit dubbed “Landlocked developing countries” on Tuesday. He called for regional integration and corporation and also paid tribute to the late Zambian leader Michael Sata.

But the factionalism that he has been trying to address in his party is worsening. Over the weekend, there were violent clashes in Masvingo as a faction allegedly led by Vice President Joice Mujuru fought with the faction allegedly led by Justice Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa. The clash was over moves by the Mnangagwa faction to oust party chairman Retired Brigadier General Callisto Gwanetsa.

There were also clashes in Manicaland as some youths sympathetic to Mrs. Mujuru demonstrated against outgoing Women’s League boss, Oppah Muchinguru, for causing friction in the province.

In Mashonaland West, where a Mrs. Mujuru ally Temba Mliswa was ousted, the Mujuru team has hit back and removed the pro-Mnangagwa youth chairman Vengesai Musengi for alleged misappropriating party funds.

The Mujuru camp is also taking a swipe at information tsar Jonathan Moyo for allegedly using the Herald and Sunday Mail to lampoon them. Those who are under fire from the herald are Mrs. Mujuru, party spokesman Rugare Gumbo, party chairman for Mashonaland East Ray Kaukonde, secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa and war veterans chairman Jabulani Sibanda.

Mutasa told VOA Studio 7 he’s not commenting on the issue at the moment.

Gumbo said he was in a crucial meeting.

Political analyst Rejoice Ngwenya of the group Liberal Market Solutions said Mr. Mugabe is failing to deal effectively with factionalism in his party.

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Meanwhile, Mnanagagwa called for unity in Zanu-PF at the weekend, saying there was no need for infighting along perceived factional lines because he and Mrs. Mujuru were friends.