Zanu PF Divided Over Politburo’s Bid To Count Supporters In Urban Areas

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By Felix Matasva

MUTARE: Zanu PF’s supreme decision-making body Politburo, brew a shocker in Manicaland last week when it decreed the provincial leadership should headcount the number of houses in all urban centres in Manicaland province, can report.

The directive was issued last Sunday during a Zanu PF’s Provincial Coordinating Committee (PCC) which was held at Mutare Teacher’s College.

It is the ruling party’s wish to reclaim its majority in urban areas where it has been playing second fiddle to the MDC since 2000.

Determining the number of houses in urban areas would help the ruling party in mobilising municipality voters ahead of the make-or-break 2023 national elections.

However, in Mutare, the Zanu PF provincial leadership headed by Mike Madiro who doubles as the Deputy Transport Minister faced stiff resistance from subordinates who had mixed feelings over the conduct of the internal enumeration.

During the PCC meeting, Madiro confirmed the decision to headcount the number of houses in the eastern border city was shot down by local party leaders.

However, data on the housing list in Mutare was later retrieved using unofficial means in order to beat the deadline set by the Politburo.

“The highest level of leadership has targeted a must win in all urban areas inclusive of Mutare and it directed these centres need a different approach of drumming up support for the ruling party during elections,” Madiro told party members.

“I was tasked as a provincial chairperson with my team to make ascertain the number of houses in all the 19 wards of Mutare. The leadership wants us to embark on a thorough mobilisation of new members.

“We want to figure out the number of people who support Zanu PF within each and every household regardless of our feelings as individual leaders at different levels.

“However, after giving instruction on August 4 that the numbers of the houses be revealed, there were mixed reactions within the party leadership here and it was quite horrible.

“Some were in support of the Politburo’s directive whilst some were against it thereby advocating for the exercise to be abandoned,” the Zanu PF’s provincial chairperson added.

Madiro challenged other district leaders in Manicaland to learn from Mutare’s skirmishes over Politburo’s decision, saying the current trend showed some members were straying away from the ruling party’s principles through indiscipline tendencies.

“I want us to take what happened in Mutare as a lesson that when the party’s leadership gives a directive it must be obliged to. Comrades who went to (the liberation) war can testify that despite good weapons, (the Ian) Smith regime was defeated because of indiscipline among his Rhodesian forces.

“From what is happening, one can see that some party members are straying away from the right path of discipline. I want to take responsibility because I am the one who is accountable. I do not want to take the blame on anyone my boss (Simbarashe Mumbengegwi) but the headcount exercise in Mutate was not done in time.

“Although we were supposed to get that information officially, we had to improvise and got the information unofficially in order to present it to the leadership as per their directive.

“This has negatively affected progress of the party in Mutare as far as party branch establishment is concerned,” Madiro said lamenting of serious Zanu PF divisions in Mutare.

During the same meeting, Politburo member and secretary for external affairs Mumbengegwi, challenged Manicaland leadership to embrace the sacrifice shown by the late hero Hebert Chitepo.

He said Chitepo was not driven by self-enrichment as he declined a lucrative job offer in Tanzania in order to lead Zimbabwe’s liberation struggle.

“I have got respect for Manicaland because it was at the forefront during the liberation struggle. We may say all things but the struggle was fought here since the bulk of freedom fighters would pass through this province during the war.

“The war is not yet over because we only gained political independence. We must make sure that we fully own the resources in this country by gaining economic independence.

“We must follow the kind of leadership set by Chitepo. When he was offered a lucrative top job in Tanzania by Julius Nyerere, he dropped the offer and decided to lead the liberation struggle for his country.

“As leaders, you must know that the most important thing is your service to the country, not the benefits that come with such leadership,” Mumbengegwi said.