Incident Watch: Masvingo Zanu PF elections show that factionalism is a threat to peace

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Following the chaos that characterised Zanu PF’s Masvingo Province, the ruling party’s highest decision making body, the Politburo ordered the dissolution of the executive and fresh elections.

Incidents recorded during the run up to the elections point towards unprecedentant levels of factionalism that may destabilise peace in Masvingo.

The following events which unfolded saw a lot of intra party violence during the build-up and during the process of the election allegedly perpetrated by Ezra Chadzamira and those loyal to him in a bid to reclaim the chairmanship position in that province.

On the 18th of February 2017 the province held their Masvingo urban elections and the wards which make up that constituency voted unanimously for Chadzamira, Munganasa, Mrs Chamisa and Manyanga for positions of chairperson and committee members respectively.

During ward voting in Runyararo west, chaos prevailed as people who were voting could not hide their preferred factions and notably those aligned to Mnangagwa’s alleged ‘Lacoste’ faction were singing and heaping praise on Chadzamira.

Those supporting the opposing alleged G-40 faction did not take the provocation lying down and a fist fight broke out. It is said that Munyaradzi Manyanga’s young brother incited the violence. The police who came to the scene were dismissed by Manganasa.

The issue of factionalism did not affect the Runyararo West area only. It spread to other wards within Masvingo urban. There was clear tension between the supporters of the competing factions in urban wards although no violence was reported.

According to those monitoring the situation on the ground the animosity between the competing factions is visible. The police also failed to intervene in a case where they were called in. This means the situation has the potential to get out of hand. The internal contradiction within the ruling party over unresolved succession disputes pose a serious threat to peace in the country.

The final results of the election show that Ezra Chadzamira who is believed to be aligned to Mnangagwa’s faction garnered 12 393 votes against Masanganise’s 4888 votes. The total percentage of party members who voted was 62, 12%.