Planned Njelele shrine visit exposes rifts within Zanu-PF
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A faction of the war vets that is planning to conduct cleansing ceremonies at Njelele Shrine outside Bulawayo has reportedly accused war vet leader Jabulani Sibanda of failing to back them up, after the Zanu-PF leadership banned the trip.
They also accused Sibanda of calling them "renegades" instead of defending their plans and passed a vote of no confidence in him. Reports said they are calling for Sibanda to be replaced by Joseph Chinotimba, who led the farm invasions in 2000.
But according to SW Radio Africa's Bulawayo correspondent Lionel Saungweme, the Zanu-PF leadership are not being honest about why they forbid the cleansing ceremonies. He explained that factionalism within Zanu-PF lies at the truth of the matter.
"The real issue is that war vet leader Sibanda is aligned with the faction loyal to Emmerson Mnangagwa, who was responsible for the 5th Brigade that killed thousands of people in the area during the Gukurahundi massacres in the mid-eighties," Saungweme said, adding that Sibanda has no right to approve anything that has to do with Njelele.
Our correspondent explained that Njelele is considered a sacred place by Zimbabweans "across the tribal divide" and is used to conduct traditional ceremonies asking the ancestors to bring rainfall. This is usually done in the month of September and anyone going there needs to be guided by local chiefs.
"Jabulani Sibanda is just echoing the wishes of the local chiefs to try and promote Zanu-PF propaganda before the elections but he has no legitimacy there because of his links to Mnangagwa," Saungweme explained.
Meanwhile more divisions within Zanu-PF were revealed this week by The Standard newspaper, which reported that army generals that were loyal to the late General Solomon Mujuru have now abandoned his widow, Vice President Joice Mujuru, in the battle to succeed Robert Mugabe.
The paper quotes top Zanu-PF officials who said the generals have shifted their loyalties to Mujuru's rivals, Defence Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa and State Security Minister Sydney Sekeramayi.
However the party Secretary for Administration, Didymus Mutasa and spokesman Rugare Gumbo, are reported to have recently said Mujuru was better positioned than Mnangagwa to succeed Mugabe because the party follows a hierarchy.
The Zanu-PF elections held recently to elect local district leadership also revealed the growing splits within the party. Physical fights broke out in several districts as candidates linked to different factions jostled for positions.
Source: SW Radio
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