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ED threatens rivals
TOPSHOT - Emmerson Mnangagwa, Zimbabwe's President and presidential candidate for the ZANU PF party, speaks during his last campaign rally at the National Sports Stadium in Harare, on July 28, 2018. (Photo by Jekesai NJIKIZANA / AFP) (Photo credit should read JEKESAI NJIKIZANA/AFP/Getty Images)

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ED threatens rivals

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…as elective congress nears

PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa has issued a stern warning to rivals within the ruling Zanu PF amid fears of sabotage ahead of the December elective congress where he fears he will be challenged by his deputy Constantino Chiwenga.

MOSES MATENGA

Insiders said the attack was aimed at the Chiwenga camp that is targeting the youth league and women’s league conferences as platforms to consolidate its leadership takeover agenda ahead of the crucial congress where the former army general is set to contest Mnangagwa with the help of the military.

Although Chiwenga remains mum on his ambitions, insiders say there was a serious push to stop Mnangagwa from standing as the party candidate in 2023 despite being endorsed by the party’s Bindura conference last year.

The Chiwenga camp is basing on security reports, particularly the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) prediction of a Zanu PF loss under Mnangagwa because of failure to address the economic crisis among other issues.

But in his address to the party politburo on Thursday, Mnangagwa said divisive elements will not be tolerated as leadership in the party was “not an entitlement.”

“As we prepare for our conferences of the leagues and the scheduled party congress, actions bent on sabotaging the party and dividing the membership will not be tolerated. Leadership in Zanu PF is not entitlement,” Mnangagwa said.

“Finally, as the politburo, let us remain united and continue to handle party affairs with honesty, integrity and loyalty. Narrow and self-defeating agendas which are indeed against the interest of our mass party, should be rejected by us at this level and indeed among the rank and file of the membership.”

Mnangagwa is leading a deeply divided party that has failed to heal from the district and provincial restructuring exercises last year that were rigged in favour of those linked to him despite losing to those said to be either independent minded or linked to Chiwenga.

There are serious fight over provincial elections in the Midlands, Mashonaland Central, Manicaland, Mashonaland West, Matabeleland North and other provinces where the party remains divided.

Mnangagwa is also accused of pursuing a tribal agenda in favour of his Karanga ethnic group, promoting his relatives and close allies to key positions while alienating others.

“The conference must help consolidate intra-party unity and democracy, while also serving as a building block to party rejuvenation, modernisation and growth,” the Zanu PF leader said.

“Meanwhile, I urge the youth league and women’s league, together with all other departments of the party involved in the holding of the conferences, to be guided by the supremacy of the party constitution, principles and values.”

C ritics say Mnangagwa is uncomfortable with the 2023 general election amid fears of defeat from the opposition on the back of internal fissures and bhora musango.  He conceded that a lot needs to be done if the ruling party entertains any chances of winning.

“Much more work lies ahead of us as we gear up for a total victory in 2023 harmonised general elections,” Mnangagwa said.

On the exchange rate that his now hovering above ZWL$360 for US$1 on the parallel market and stoking chronic high inflation, Mnangagwa said: “Government is currently addressing the exchange rate evil and price hikes which are a result of imported inflation.”

In apparent reference to his much-hyped visit to Emmanuel Makandiwa’s church recently, Mnangagwa said there remains a strong relationship between the state and religion.

“The importance of the symbiotic relationship between the state, church and the party cannot be over-emphasised, more so now as we accelerate the building of our great country. This relationship must continue to be nurtured across all levels of society. I exhort the party leadership to deliberately find time to attend their various congregations.”

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