PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa yesterday issued a stern warning to ruling party bigwigs allegedly plotting to “unseat him”, and threatened to “destroy” them before the December elective congress.
Mnangagwa is leading a deeply divided ruling party ahead of the March 26 by-elections that have the potential to cause further ructions during the selection of candidates for the primaries.
The divisions were laid bare during the recent district and provincial elections where reports of rigging, violence and intimidation were prevalent.
The divisions are linked to the alleged battle for the control of the heart and soul of the party between camps reportedly linked to Mnangagwa and his deputy Constantino Chiwenga. The two factions seek to control party structures ahead of the elective congress.
Sensing danger, Mnangagwa issued a warning yesterday saying: “Acts of violence and political chicanery, sowing divisions will never be tolerated. We are a party that has a rich revolutionary legacy and let no one at any stage of our development seek to undermine or destroy this history. You will get destroyed yourself.”
Mnangagwa has already cracked the whip to put his ducks in a row with the firing of his once-trusted loyalist, Owen Ncube, from the powerful post of State Security minister.
This comes amid speculation over the imminent firing of several more bigwigs in the party, and government for perceived transgressions before, during and after the provincial elections.
The Zanu PF leader confirmed that part of yesterday’s Politburo meeting was to receive reports from different provinces “among other critical and pertinent issues”.
Insiders said Mnangagwa was fretting over more potential chaos in the primary elections to choose candidates to represent the party in the March 26 by-elections.
“This meeting gives us an opportunity to interrogate the state of readiness to reclaim the vacant Senatorial, national Assembly and council seats arising out of deaths of our members. Equally, we must wrestle from the opposition the vacant Senatorial, National Assembly and councillors seats arising as a result of opposition recalls, deaths and squabbles,” Mnangagwa said.
“Having said this, it is my expectation that leaders and members of the party follow the party guidelines and procedures that govern and inform our primary elections. This will enable us as a party to come up with capable, agile and ideologically rooted candidates.
“Remember Zanu PF is a people’s party and people join our colossal party on the basis of its principles, values and norms. No one can claim ownership and sense of entitlement of the party among us.”
Zanu PF has received complaints on alleged violence, vote rigging, intimidation, among others, from almost all the provinces mainly Midlands, Mashonaland West, Mashonaland Central, Manicaland, Matabeleland North.
Party national commissar Mike Bimha’s office is reportedly inundated with reports of complaints, most of them implicating senior party officials, sources confirmed.
“The party remains supreme. Hence, as we hold our primary elections, the values of unity, peace, discipline and loyalty must continue to be upheld at all times by all cadres.”
Mnangagwa also accused civic society organisations (CSOs) of pushing a regime change agenda under the guise of voter education.
The threats, observers said, were meant to silence CSOs from speaking against alleged electoral malpractices threatening the credibility of the upcoming polls emanating from the recall of MDC Alliance legislators and councillors.
Mnangagwa has been accused of lacking political will to implement electoral reforms. He has also been accused of working with the opposition Douglas Mwonzora-led MDC-T to decimate Nelson Chamisa’s MDC Alliance ahead of the polls.
“Meanwhile the political consciousness of every cadre of the party must be heightened. Let us resolutely guard against civil society organizations and other agencies bent on advancing the neo-colonial and imperial agenda, disguising as voter educators,” the Zanu PF leader said. Standard