In a repeat of sentiments he echoed last week at his party’s annual Youth League conference, President Robert Mugabe on Thursday bemoaned growing factionalism in his Zanu PF party saying the internal squabbles are tearing the former revolutionary party as it prepares for its elective congress in December.
Officiating at his party’s Women’s League conference that kicked off in Harare ahead of the party’s main congress in December, President Mugabe said factionalism is not helping anyone but destroying the ruling party.
Vice President Joice Mujuru and Justice Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa are reportedly leading camps that are battling to succeed Mr. Mugabe, should the veteran leader leaves office.
President Mugabe (90) recently said all key positions are up for grabs at his party’s congress but it is highly unlikely that he would be challenged.
Following the chaos that marred the party’s Youth League conference, Mr. Mugabe noted that senior leaders should allow conference delegates to make their own decisions without being influenced.
According to Mr. Mugabe, the Youth League’s conference was marred by irregularities, including vote-buying. On the other hand, violence-related to factionalism within the party is being reported in some parts of the country.
The president said the divisions were tantamount to criminality.
Mr. Mugabe’s wife, Grace, is expected to be nominated as the new secretary for the Women’s League - a position once held by the late First Lady Sally Mugabe.
Grace will take over from Women’s Affairs Minister Oppah Muchinguri, who recently endorsed the First Lady at celebrations to mark her 49th birthday in Mazowe.
Muchinguri is reportedly in the Mnangagwa camp and analysts say the move to appoint Mrs. Mugabe the leader of the Women’s League is meant to counter Mrs. Mujuru, who they say was becoming too powerful and preparing to take over from Mr. Mugabe.
The Mnangagwa camp is alleged to have offered Grace Mugabe support and protection in the post-Mugabe era.
Both Mujuru and the justice minister have denied reports that they are leading factions in the ruling party.