Gweru, Zimbabwe – The ruling party, Zanu PF, is facing mounting challenges in President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s stronghold as poorly attended rallies continue to shake the party. Candidates for the upcoming polls have resorted to coercing traditional leaders to compel their subjects to attend meetings, following the chaotic primary elections held in March. The low attendance at these gatherings is a direct response to the controversial manner in which the party conducted its primaries, resulting in numerous eligible members being unable to vote due to their names mysteriously disappearing from the voters’ roll.

In a bid to address the growing crisis within the party, Zanu PF has called for an emergency meeting scheduled to take place tomorrow in Gweru. Lovemore Matuke, the party’s secretary for security, is set to address the meeting, with hopes of restoring cohesion among party members after internal conflicts led to some individuals boycotting official gatherings.

The situation reached a new low on Friday when only 17 people showed up to a meeting organized by Flora Buka, the parliamentary candidate for Gokwe-Nembudziya. The meeting, which aimed to rally support for the upcoming elections, was attended by Maud Ngwenya, the provincial commissar. Buka, undeterred by the poor turnout, has now resorted to calling another meeting today at the same venue, this time ordering chiefs to ensure the presence of their subjects by claiming that the party’s national commissar, Mike Bimha, will be addressing the gathering.

A circulating WhatsApp message from Buka read, “Mamuka sei nhasi, muudze masabhuku vauye nevanhu vavo vose kumusangano mangwana pa council pari kuuya national PC” (Good morning, can you tell the kraal heads to bring all their subjects for a meeting at the council offices which will be attended by the national PC).

Buka’s victory over Justice Mayor Wadyajena in an election that the latter claimed was rigged has further fueled tensions within the party. While only five constituencies were cleared to conduct re-runs, complaints of voter malpractices have been reported from over 150 out of the country’s 210 constituencies. These alarming reports raise concerns that this could be the party’s most poorly executed internal election in recent history.

The party’s struggles to recover from the chaotic primaries are evident nationwide, with members increasingly avoiding party meetings. The newly nominated candidates have faced a significant lack of support, prompting the party to deploy senior members to address provincial and district structures.

Zanu PF is also growing increasingly anxious about the Nelson Chamisa-led Citizens Coalition for Change, which has made notable inroads in some rural constituencies. Consequently, the party is determined to swiftly “restore party cohesion” to counter the opposition’s momentum.

According to internal communications, Matuke, accompanied by the provincial chairman, provincial commissar, her deputy, the provincial secretary for security, and the top six representatives from all eight district-coordinating committees and executive committees in the Midlands, will convene in Gweru tomorrow. The meeting aims to address the challenges faced by Zanu PF and find solutions to reinvigorate the party ahead of the upcoming elections.

By Power

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