- Southern Africa
Zimbabwe: Looming split after bomb scare at Zanu-PF congress
Security was heightened last night at Zanu PF congress with the army and Central Intelligence Organisation operatives pitching up a temporal base as tensions ran high.
On Wednesday afternoon, a politburo meeting was briefly disrupted with reports of a bomb scare at the Zanu PF Head Offices. The meeting only resumed after a sweeping clearance by the members of the Army’s bomb disposal unit.
A large majority of delegates are disgruntled over Robert Mugabe’s self endorsement without their approval and the idea of a break away party is being sold to delegates.
Mugabe has kept a tight grip on ZANU-PF since becoming party leader in the mid 1970s and spearheaded a guerrilla war against white minority rule. A personality cult has developed around him in the party, with some officials referring to him as the "second son of God" or the "supreme leader."
Although Mugabe has flatly refused to discuss his retirement plans, analysts have said he is unlikely to contest the next presidential poll — expected in the next two years or in 2013 if the current unity government runs a full term. Ordinary members are calling on Mugabe to hand over power to someone younger.
"After the bomb scare of the party headquarters, it was decided that security should be beefed up at the congress venue,” said a senior party member.
Zanu PF Manicaland Provincial chairman Basil Nyabadza yesterday resigned from his post saying his province “has never participated in the Presidium since independence in 1980. I believe the case has not been handled properly as our candidate is in his twilight years, politically — he is the most experienced and we felt he should have been rightly nominated for the chairmanship".
Following last night’s bomb scare, speculation is rife that Mugabe’s party could be on the brink of a split.
One faction led by Defence Minister Emerson Mnangagwa is reportedly circulating documents at the congress spelling out “a get-out plan”. It is believed that the faction will run parallel structures in Zanu-PF with a long term plan to form a fully fledged break-away political party whose Congress is scheduled for September 2010.
A 200 page detailed document authored by former Information minister Jonathan Moyo details the “sources of funding, recruitment of members from Zanu-PF as well as the two MDC factions and external support”.