NINE months after its elective congress and three months away from its annual conference, ZANU-PF has become so disjointed that its grassroots support is now divided along factional lines, the Financial Gazette has established.
A restructuring, occasioned by the shock dismissals and suspensions of more than 150 key party functionaries alleged to be sympathetic to ousted former vice president Joice Mujuru, is in shambles as the party’s supporters still remain clueless over the direction the party is taking.
While the dismissals and suspensions weakened the ruling party structurally, internal factional divisions have further destabilised the revolutionary party, making it difficult to re-establish control of the grassroots.
And with the ruling party eyeing another election victory in 2018, mobilising its shambolic grassroots support base is proving a daunting task after an average of 15 influential party members in each province were either suspended or fired from the party in the run up to, and after, the party’s December 2014 congress.
Reports coming from across the country indicate that ZANU-PF is in such a state of flux that even grassroots party members fear the purge undertaken at the high levels could affect them.
They are reportedly hesitant to attend any party meetings unless these have members of the Presidium present for fear they may associate with wrong party functionaries.
ZANU-PF has been forced to postpone restructuring and verification exercises in Mashonaland West on three occasions owing to poor turnout at scheduled meetings.
Teams covering Hurungwe and Kariba districts are yet to complete the exercise in its fourth week running.
Three districts in Karoi town failed to garner enough members within the party’s voters’ roll, which appears to be packed with ghost members.
The party said although the Mashonaland West provincial executive kicked off the exercise in Kariba district, “a mild pass” was given to rural communities under chiefs Musampakaruma, Negande, Nebiri and Mola.
“In Kariba rural, only six out of 17 political districts were covered forcing the leadership to abandon the remainder due to poor turnout for the verification exercise. They are not forthcoming to attend and they did not finish their business in Kariba town,” said a Central Committee member speaking on condition that he remained anonymous.
The provincial executive faced hurdles in Hurungwe district which has five constituencies comprising Hurungwe Central, East, West, North and Magunje.
“The team seems to have had an easy task in Hurungwe East constituency led by Sarah Mahoka where everything was in place,” said one member from the party’s Women’s League.
Mahoka, whose constituency is within resettlement farms, appears to have taken advantage of new farmers in the area who are under constant pressure to attend all ZANU-PF meetings to avoid being labelled “sell-outs”.
Three weeks ago Mahoka abandoned a verification exercise of Kubatana district in Karoi town covering wards 1, 2 and 3 after failing to garner a quorum of 120 members.
Karoi falls under Hurungwe Central constituency, whose Member of Parliament is Godfrey Beremauro.
This situation also affected Tongogara covering wards 4, 5 and 6 as well as Chitepo covering wards 7 to 10.
“Unfortunately, we do not have enough members from the youth, women and main wings to continue verification here. We have to postpone this meeting to yet another date but it’s disappointing as it will take longer than planned,” Mahoka told the gathering at Chikangwe recently.