Tensions escalated in Zanu PF on Monday ahead of the party’s elective congress in December with Mashonaland West chairman, Themba Mliswa, refuting allegations in the state-controlled newspaper, The Sunday Mail, that he is a Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) operative.
Mliswa also fired a broadside at colleagues in the party, in particular Information Minister Jonathan Moyo, charging he was the real CIA operative.
Analysts say the allegations against Mliswa and 11 other Members of Parliament said to have links with the United States Embassy in Harare are part of the succession race in Zanu PF.
Some of the lawmakers have also denied working for the U.S. government.
Independent political analyst Blessing Vava says Zanu PF’s worsening infighting is threatening national security and development.
“The bad thing is that currently we have no opposition in the country taking advantage of the problem in Zanu PF,” said Vava.
“The infighting in Zanu PF means the cabinet ministers are focusing on taking over power and not concentrating on reviving the ailing economy and related issues.”
Factions in Zanu PF are battling to position themselves ahead of the elective congress. Deputy President Joice Mujuru and Justice Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa are said to be fighting for vantage positions to take over from 90-year old President Robert Mugabe. Both have previously denied leading factions.
The Sunday Mail article accused Mliswa of meeting the U.S. Embassy’s political affairs secretary, Eric Little, to discuss the funding of projects in his constituency in exchange for information on the goings-on in Zanu PF.
Mliswa, who is also the Zanu PF legislator for Hurungwe West, said he met Mr. Little to discuss funding for developmental projects but the embassy did not agree to fund them.
Mliswa accused Mr. Mugabe’s nephew, Patrick Zhuwao, of being used by Environment, Water and Climate Minister, Saviour Kasukuwere, to un-sit President Mugabe at the December congress of the ruling party.
He, however, could not give more details to support his claim.
Mliswa said the Zanu PF presidium should be retained at the congress as it has fared well during its tenure. Mrs. Mujuru is part of the presidium.
Mliswa claimed that President Mugabe is surrounded by homosexuals whom he called “gay gangsters”.
He said the Zanu PF youth will not stand aside and watch while the party was being ‘hijacked’ by homosexuals. He singled out Information Minister Jonathan Moyo and Kasukuwere.
Contacted for comment, Kasukuwere said he was in a meeting, adding he did not have time to discuss what he called ‘useless and malicious claims’ by Mliswa. Efforts to get a comment from Moyo were fruitless.
On his return Saturday from New York, where he attended and addressed the United Nations General Assembly, President Mugabe warned that errant party leaders who put the name of the party into disrepute would reprimanded.
He did not name anyone but indications are that it is now a free-for-all in Zanu PF with party members not heeding the president’s call not to speak to the media about goings-on in the party.
Zanu PF has been in power since independence in 1980.