A faction linked to Zanu PF secretary Obert Mpofu in Matabeleland North is said to be losing its grip on the ruling party’s structures during the on-going internal elections ahead of the decisive congress later this year.

Mpofu’s faction is said to be aligned to Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga.

Insiders say the developments show that provincial elections held in December 2021 for the party’s main wing were rigged after Matabeleland North Provincial Affairs minister Richard Moyo won the elections under controversial circumstances.

Moyo beat former senator Believe Gaule, a loyalist of President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

Mnangagwa and Chiwengwa are said to be locked in a fierce battle for the control of the ruling party ahead of the elective congress.

Mnangagwa’s camp was outsmarted in the provincial executive elections amid reports of rigging by loyalists linked to Chiwenga, leaving the VP in control of the provinces.

But it has emerged that Mngangagwa’s camp is mounting a comeback in the Matabeleland North elections  for the youth and women’s leagues.

The loyalists said this was a confirmation that the December polls were rigged in favour of Chiwenga.

“What is left is for us to sweep all the central committee positions, and then pass a vote of no confidence on the provincial executives’ that rigged their way to power,” a source in Matabeleland North confided to The Standard.

Moyo yesterday denied charges that he rigged the elections.

“I don’t know anything about this. It’s my first time hearing this,” he said.

Sources said Mpofu’s wife, Sikhanyisiwe had to withdraw her candidature for the provincial women’s league at the last minute after sensing defeat.

“We swept all the youth and women’s quota seats in Matabeleland North. This all, but confirms that they (Chiwenga) camp rigged the polls in December.

“We have regained control of the provinces, ahead of the elective congress,” a source linked to the Mnangagwa camp said.

The Zanu PF youth league has since endorsed Mnangagwa as the sole candidate for the ruling party in the 2023 presidential election.

Mnangagwa is said to have imposed Gutu West MP John Paradza as the deputy national chairperson of the youth league to assert his control of a key pillar of the party ahead of the elections. Standard

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