Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front Secretary for Administration Ignatius Chombo has complained that the party has been infiltrated by what he calls Nothing-At-all-but-Talk-Only elements (NATOs) whom he said were divisive and might want to gatecrash the party’s annual conference which will be held at Victoria Falls next month.
“I am tired of NATO,” Chombo was quoted by The Chronicle as saying. “I understand Victoria Falls town is a holiday resort and everyone wants to be here but I want to warn those who want to cheat to be careful.”
About 6 500 delegates are expected to attend the conference. Chombo said no delegate will be allocated a room unless this has been authorised by him and political commissar Saviour Kasukuwere.
There has been a lot of media interest in the conference; the first massive gathering of ZANU-PF delegates following last year’s controversial congress which saw top officials former Vice-President Joice Mujuru, former Secretary for Administration Didymus Mutasa and former spokesman Rugare Gumbo being kicked out.
The party has had to repeatedly quash media reports that First Lady Grace Mugabe is likely to pip Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa from his post saying this is not an elective conference.
The party has not made things any easier by reporting that provinces have endorsed its 91-year-old leader Robert Mugabe as the sole candidate for the 2018 presidential elections, yet the elections are two full years away and the party will hold two more annual conferences before the elections.
Though not healthy, squabbles in ZANU-PF are usually a sign that the opposition has become too weak.