PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe has made a direct intervention in a bid to mend divisions in his Zanu PF party sparked by district elections.
Mugabe warned that elections for district party committees, which had spilled into violence in Masvingo and Manicaland, were “destroying the party”.
Speaking at the Heroes’ Acre, where national hero Edson Ncube was buried on Friday, Mugabe also warned that candidate imposition and disputes over alleged vote-buying could wreck the party’s electoral chances.
“We don’t want people who say don’t vote for so and so... you are destroying the party, do your work, let the people judge you if they don’t like you or if they like you.”
Mugabe said political power contests in Zanu PF were increasingly being influenced by money over policy and principle.
“The leadership is transforming and is becoming too materialistic. That is going to destroy the party. Let us be like Cde Edison Ncube who never questioned the positions he was given,” he told mourners.
At Shumba Primary School in Nyajena, Masvingo, police reportedly fired warning shots in the air last weekend after running battles which saw classroom windows being smashed.
The clashes followed similar disturbances at a country club in Nyanga where fist fights broke out over disputed district elections. Manicaland party chairman Mike Madiro faced protests over accusations of vote-rigging and imposition of candidates.
The clashes are said to mirror an internecine national power contest between Vice President Joice Mujuru and Defence Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa who are strategically trying to win control of the grassroots party in a battle to succeed Mugabe.
Solemn affair ... Vice President Mujuru, President Mugabe and his wife at Heroes Acre