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Succession Conflicts Raise Tensions in Zanu PF Again

President Robert Mugabe with his two deputies, Phelekezela Mphoko (L) and Emmerson Mnangagwa (R). Collage by Ntungamili Nkomo

Tensions in Zanu-PF are on the rise again with fresh friction pitting two vice presidents, who are said to have played a critical role in the ouster of former Vice President Joyce Mujuru and more than a dozen other senior Zanu PF officials before the party’s elective congress last December.

President Robert Mugabe is quoted by the state-controlled Sunday Mail newspaper as cautioning party supporters against discussing his succession or coalescing around the two vice presidents – Emmerson Mnangagwa and Phelekezela Mphoko - saying people will chose their own president when time comes.

Economists are warning that factional fights are worsening the economic crisis as ministers spend time on party business. But those expelled from the party are alleging that there is growing instability within the party and they are also being targeted for continued persecution.

Former Masvingo provincial affairs minister and Zanu-PF Mwenezi East lawmaker, Kudakwashe Bhasikiti, who was recently expelled from the party accused his successor minister Shuvai Mahofa of targeting him and influencing war veterans and party supporters to occupy part of his farm in Mwenezi.

Bhasikiti told VOA Studio 7 that despite the expulsions and purges, there is still instability in Zanu-PF.

But Mahofa said factionalism in Masvingo in particular and Zanu-PF in general ended with the expulsion of Mrs. Mujuru and her allies.

Mahofa said what Bhasikiti is calling factionalism is a government plan to downsize farms.