Zanu-PF members in the battle to succeed 89-year-old President Robert Mugabe

FIGHTS within Zanu-PF have turned nasty amid reports that the different factions in the party are lobbying for the control of certain key ministries in order to use them in the battle to succeed 89-year-old President Robert Mugabe, it has emerged.

Sources said fights were mainly on security ministries, after it emerged that Mugabe was likely to create new portfolios such as police and correctional services.

A Zanu-PF official said the faction loyal to Vice-President Joice Mujuru was positioning its members for the proposed Ministry of Police and other strategic portfolios such as Defence and State Security.

The faction also wanted to control the ministries of Finance, Local Government and Mines. But the faction loyal to Defence minister Emmerson Mnangagwa was also eyeing the same portfolios.

“There are fears that if certain officials get the opportunity to control the ministry responsible for the police, they will use such portfolios to target certain individuals who crossed their paths in the past,” he said.

“You will see officials being arrested on corruption charges, but all this will be about succession.”

The official said a certain section in Zanu-PF wanted security chiefs, notably defence forces commander, Constantine Chiwenga and police commissioner-general, Augustine Chihuri to be retired soon.

He said their presence was considered too intimidating to any eventual successor of Mugabe.

“But what they do not know is that some of the juniors they are earmarking for these positions are even worse hardliners than Chiwenga and Chihuri,” he said.

Another official close to the party said the faction linked to Mnangagwa was not happy with the provision in the constitution which favours Mujuru.

In the event of Mugabe being incapacitated or dying in office, Mujuru takes over by virtue of being the first vice-president.

He said the faction wanted this section amended after recent reports suggesting that Mujuru was ready to take over from Mugabe touched a raw nerve in Zanu-PF.”These words attributed to the VP [Mujuru] were not taken kindly by the security chiefs. This is why there is this push to have this section amended to avoid suspicion by any future President that their deputies may have bad wishes for them,” said the official.

Zanu-PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo could not comment on the issue saying the party was mourning the passing on of its politburo member and former cabinet minister, Kumbirai Kangai.

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