According to sources, President Emmerson Mnangagwa is increasingly utilising parallel structures after some Zanu PF institutions rejected the installation of his friends prior to the congress of the ruling party.
Mnangagwa is accused of forcibly appointing his supporter John Paradza as leader of the Zanu PF youth league, provoking opposition from party institutions.
In Manicaland and Masvingo, meetings to introduce Paradza and his new youth league executive ended in bloodshed as Zanu PF factions clashed openly to highlight the chasm.
During an election in Mutare to replace Danmore Mambondiani, who was just appointed to a post on the national executive, violent scenes ensued.
In Masvingo, a party youth convention conducted at Masvingo Polytechnic to elect a new provincial youth leader was disrupted by violence.
The position became vacant upon Paradza’s promotion.
Mnangagwa is reportedly employing parallel institutions such as MenBelievED to organise his 2023 election campaign due to rising mistrust inside Zanu PF structures in the wake of the development of a faction supposedly allied with Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga.
MenBelieveED is organising a support march for the Zanu PF leader on August 27 at Robert Mugabe Square in Harare.
Young Women for ED and Varakashi for ED, among other organisations, are also advocating for Mnangagwa outside of Zanu PF structures.
Christopher Mutsvangwa, a spokesperson for Zanu PF, refused to comment on the march when asked if it was a planned party event.
He forwarded inquiries to the march’s organiser and MenBelieveEd group’s founder, Justice Matsatsira, who yesterday indicated he could only comment on the march on Wednesday.
“I cannot comment at this time,” stated Matsatsira.
“I am absent from the city because I am attending a funeral in the countryside.
“I will return on Wednesday with additional information about the march.”
In the past, party organs organised similar marches during the height of Zanu PF factionalism, which pitted former president Robert Mugabe against Mnangagwa.
Mugabe was ultimately overthrown in a coup in 2017, paving the door for his deputy.
In 2016, former Zanu PF youth secretary Kudzai Chipanga organised a “million-man march” in favour of Robert Mugabe in response to Mnangagwa-affiliated efforts to oust him.
Chipanga also organised youth interface rallies during which Mugabe’s wife, Grace, would openly insult purported Mnangagwa allies.
In 2007, Jabulani Sibanda, chairman of Zanu PF Bulawayo, organised a similar march in favour of Mugabe, whose popularity was declining.
A newly leaked internal police letter revealed that the ruling Zanu PF party’s popularity at the grassroots level has declined since its June cell audit.
Sydicks Muradzikwa, a political expert, stated that the solidarity march in support of Mnangagwa was pointless given the country’s numerous social, political, and economic difficulties.
Muradzikwa stated, “The planned solidarity march is the result of extreme acts of solidarity and erroneous ultra-patriotic ideals inside President Mnangagwa’s camp.”
“Actions meant to demonstrate genuine solidarity must be grounded in political common sense and reason.
“Regrettably, this is the result of incentivizing public support for politics in the absence of political thinking and common sense.”
Vivid Gwede, an additional expert, stated that the solidarity march indicated that problems was brewing within Zanu PF.
Gwede speculated, “What else do the president’s followers view as his difficulties if not the spectres of factionalism in his party or the upcoming elections in which his chances are being eroded everyday by the economic collapse?”
“A successful administration and leadership do not require solidarity marches.”
Mnangagwa is seeking a second full term in the 2019 elections, when he will face Nelson Chamisa, the leader of the Citizens Coalition for Change, whom he narrowly defeated in the disputed 2018 polls.
In a June Afrobarometer survey, 33% of respondents indicated they would vote for Chamisa, compared to 30% for the Zanu PF leader