ZANU PF affiliate groups have disbanded and gone underground after overshadowing ruling party structures in the lead up to the August polls to campaign for President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s re-election.
A number of shadowy groups emerged ahead of the August 23 and 24 harmonised elections promising votes for Mnangagwa.
The groups include the Young Women 4ED, VaPostori for ED, Mahwindi4ED, Rastas4ED, Single women4ED, NUST staff4ED, YES4ED, Footballers4ED, Lawyers 4ED, Miners Forum 4ED and Teachers for ED, among others.
Almost two months after the elections, the affiliates are now dormant and it is now rare to see a commuter omnibus with a Mahwindi 4ED sticker
One of the first groups to emerge was the Young Women for ED led by the now Information and Communication Technologyminister, Tatenda Mavetera.
In Zanu PF, the shadowy groupings were largely frowned upon and viewed as Mnangagwa’s parallel structures as he feared a protest vote after imposing his allies as candidates during the party’s parliamentary and council primary elections.
The groups were accused of being after the freebies and money.
Young Women 4ED Harare mobilisation officer and Chitungwiza subunit chairlady, Doreen Mpesi, however, told NewsDay that they have not disbanded.
“We are not in hibernation, but we are only taking a break because our mandate was to campaign for the president, and now the elections are over,” Mpesi said.
“Right now, we are preparing for the Zanu PF Annual National People’s Conference in Gweru. After the conference, we will get direction on how affiliates will run.”
She claimed they were running programmes behind the scenes.
There are several programmes that are running in the background to empower women, such as rabbit projects and piggery. There are women who acquired land and mines and are improving their lives,” she said.
Vapostori4ED national spokesperson, Madzibaba Obey Mapuranga, told NewsDay that most of the senior members were busy attending the annual religious gatherings.
“I guess others are now engaged in economic development programmes, but Vapostori4ED is currently engaged in post-election peace-building initiatives until sometime around December, when a review is done.
“Once they are all back at their resident shrines, we will convene a post-election peace-building and post-election review meeting.”
He said processes and programmes of religious support for Zanu PF were ongoing, while most of them could not be discussed with the media and the public.
Teachers 4ED Mashonaland East deputy provincial coordinator, Tapiwa Munozogara, requested questions via WhatsApp, but never responded after receiving them. “It’s difficult to respond on the phone, but if you have questions, you can send them on WhatsApp,” he said.
Political analyst Methuseli Moyo said the groupings were just campaign agents for Mnangagwa.
“They were never formalised institutions or structures, and they achieved their goal of getting Mnangagwa re-elected. So, it is not surprising that they have gone on mute,” Moyo said.
Another analyst, Kudakwashe Munemo, said: “It was clearly not a transformational relationship, but a transactional one that was meant to capitalise on the campaigning period for personal accumulation of resources.”
Zanu PF director for information, Farai Marapira said the 4ED affiliates were active on the ground, assisting the party to deliver on its election promises.
“They have shifted their focus from campaign mode to assisting to deliver promises made by Zanu PF,” he said.
“As for Mahwindi 4ED, it essentially becomes the group‘s focus to assist and deliver on the needs of touts. What are the challenges faced by the touts? These are the issues being attended to. In a way, they become formalised, things like that,” he said.