|January 19, 2008
Rumours about Zanu PF faction to launch party
There are rumours that a split is looming in Zanu PF with former Finance minister Simba Makoni likely to square up against President Robert Mugabe in the polls scheduled for March. Impeccable sources told the Zimbabwe Independent that the splinter Zanu PF faction to be headed by Makoni was expected to roll out its election programme and reveal the name it would use for the polls. Former permanent secretary and academic Ibbo Mandaza, war veteran Alfred Mhanda (Dzinashe Machingura), and retired army major Kudzai Mbudzi were reportedly coordinating the Makoni project. Mandaza is understood to be the convenor. Mbudzi was suspended from the Zanu PF Masvingo provincial executive in December for deriding war veterans leader Jabulani Sibanda’s involvement in marches to rally support for Mugabe. The sources said the Makoni faction was still debating whether or not to contest the polls under the name Zanu PF or to use Patriotic Front.
Simba Makoni, 53, is a graduate of Leeds University and former executive secretary of the Southern African Development Community. He is widely respected in business circles and across the political divide but critics say he lacks grassroots support of his own. In a letter to Mugabe, Makoni complained that he had been blocked from standing as a Zanu PF parliamentary candidate in his home area in Eastern Zimbabwe and had been accused of disloyalty to the party.
In the meantime, President Mugabe have held closed-door discussions with Makoni. Both Makoni and Mugabe have not commented on the newspaper articles while leading political analysts have ruled out the possibility of Makoni or any other Zanu PF leader breaking away from Mugabe at this point.
(The Zimbabwe Independent, South Africa/Daily Telegraph, UK)