by DANAI MWARUMBA
HARARE, (CAJ News) – INFIGHTING has returned to haunt the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union- Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) in the wake of chaotic primary elections to elect representatives in the upcoming general polls.
The subsequent differences and the shambolic internal elections have raised fear among party members that President Emmerson Mnangagwa might lose the July poll against Nelson Chamisa of Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).
At the centre of the latest infighting is Presidential Advisor, Christopher Mutsvangwa, and Political Commissar, Engelbert Rugeje.
Mutsvangwa, who is also the chairman of the influential Zimbabwe National War Veterans’ Association (ZNLWVA), laid the blame on the controversial polls this past weekend on Rugeje.
Mutsvangwa is among several party bigwigs that lost elections that were marred by allegations of rigging and violence .
He lost the Norton constituency to little-known Langton Mutendereki.
“ZANU-PF’s problem has always been the abuse of the office of the political commissar. We are seeing this again. The new national commissar (Rugeje), while he is a comrade, lacks the party’s institutional memory and has failed to handle this issue well, leading to the disenfranchisement of thousands of party members countrywide,” Mutsvangwa said.
Mutsvangwa hinted at another rebellion by war vets against the party, insisting, “We will be left with no choice but to go with the people.”
Veterans of the 1970s struggle are prominent in Zimbabwe’s political landscape.
They masterminded the downfall of the then President Robert Mugabe, who was eventually ousted in a coup last November amid infighting within ZANU-PF. A faction of the party aligned to Mugabe’s wife, Grace, had intended to block Mnangagwa from succeeding Mugabe.
– CAJ News