ZANU PF bigwigs are having sleepless after a recent security report showed that the ruling party had a 45% probability of winning the 2023 elections owing to supporters’ unhappiness with internal election outcome and failure to deliver after the 2017 military coup.
The report revealed that the party’s strength, as reflected by numbers after the restructuring exercise, could have been inaccurate because of the inflation of numbers by party officials.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa and his party are set to face a stiff challenge form main rival Nelson Chamisa who recently rebranded his MDC-Alliance party to Citizens’ Convergence for Change (CCC).
Last year, Zanu PF embarked on a restructuring exercise that culminated in provincial elections that were marred by allegations of massive vote rigging.
Before the chaotic provincial polls, the former liberation movement had also embarked on a structure verification exercise in November following reports that some ambitious bigwigs had created parallel structures as they sought to influence the outcome of regional elections, prompting their indefinite suspension.
The party has however begun the verification of its structures again amid concern over the threat posed by Chamisa and his CCC outfit.
Some ruling party bigwigs, insiders say, would prefer elections to be postponed because of internal divisions, amid concern that some Zanu PF members may not even vote for Mnangagwa.
The verification exercise kicked off in Harare this week, as the ruling party seeks to ascertain its true strength following the security report.
Harare provincial political commissar Kudakwashe Damson confirmed to The NewsHawks that another round of verifying the structures was already underway as fear grows in Zanu PF that some of the grassroots organs were non-existent.
Pressed to say what had necessitated the verification, Zanu PF national political commissar Mike Bimha referred questions to provincial executives, saying “maybe they have a good reason for them to verify their structures; you can ask them”.
Damson said the latest exercise was meant to make sure the party had proper structures ahead of the 26 March by-elections.
“The current executive verification is part of by-elections preparations; we are doing executive verification for all structures.
“We know executive members from the cell to province can win us elections so we just want to know if the structures are genuine. We also want to make sure that all the executive members are registered to vote because this will help us to win elections really exist,” Damson said.
He said Harare province had already completed the verification exercise for Chitungwiza while they are targeting to complete the process before the by-elections.
But security sources told this publication that party honchos were sweating after the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) report that Zanu PF was staring defeat at the opposition’s hands in 2023 as disgruntled party members had vowed to vote in protest.
“The party is being advised to find ways to delay the 2023 elections because according to a recent security report, Zanu PF has a 45% chance of winning.
“There is serious discord on the ground, especially in provinces such as Mashonaland East, West, Central and Masvingo because provincial elections there did not go well.
“People have made it clear that they will vote with the opposition if the party does not address their grievances which include imposed leaders,” the source said.
All this comes amid worsening relations in Zanu PF, as it battles to contain the factional demons that had split the party down the middle in the last few years in power of the late former president Robert Mugabe.
The worsening ructions saw traditional leaders raising serious concerns at the party’s annual conference in October, saying this was spiralling out of control.
“We are pained by the noise in the party. Keep the spirit of the new dispensation alive. Some want to take us 10 to 15 years back. Your infighting is very disturbing.
“Elections are the source of the problem. From the district coordinating committee (DCC) polls up, the situation has gone out of hand.
“What is key is that you must hold free and fair elections because that is where the issue is. I hope the acting political commissar (Patrick Chinamasa) will act on that,” Chiefs’ Council president Fortune Charumbira said at the conference.
He also blamed party outsiders for allegedly driving a wedge between Mnangagwa and his deputy Constantino Chiwenga, by spreading falsehoods regarding their relationship.
“There are detractors who are creating stories of divisions between the two of you and you seem to enjoy it. I am now a very senior member of Zanu PF that someone cannot lie that there is bad blood between the two of you.
“I know you are good friends and they will never become enemies. We want unity. It is the membership that is dividing the party,” Charumbira said.