ZANU PF secretary for war veterans’ affairs in the politburo, Douglas Mahiya, is in the eye of a raging storm after being accused of receiving US$20 000 from Home Affairs minister Kazembe Kazembe to help him campaign for the Mashonaland Central provincial party chairmanship.

Kazembe is fighting a tooth and nail battle to retain the as he faces a serious threat from businessman Tafadzwa Musarara who has mounted a formidable challenge.

Mahiya initially went to the province on a politburo secondment to supervise district elections, but has since then frequented the area, holding several meetings where he has been openly telling people to retain the current leadership.

This is despite the fact that the politburo has banned campaigns for all provincial positions because of serious internecine fights.

Sources from the province said Mahiya is congregating people under the auspices of launching a new Zanu PF wing known as the veterans of the liberation struggle, which will be stuffed with former freedom fighters and collaborators.

This will be a departure from the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association, which is an independent organisation only associating with Zanu PF by affiliation.

However, Zanu PF first secretary, President Emmerson Mnangagwa, has previously ordered that the launch of the outfit must be put on a hold pending meticulous verification of the membership.

Nevertheless, Mahiya called meetings for Friday and Saturday, a development which drew a sharp rebuttal from Mashonaland Central provincial war veterans chairman, Samuel Parirenhyatwa.

“The veterans of the liberation struggle is set to hold inter-district meetings in Mashonaland Central province from November 26 and 27, 2021. The meetings will be attended by war veterans, war collaborators, ex political deteinees and restrictees and non-combatant cadres,” Mahiya wrote.

Parirenyatwa wrote separately to the same groups saying: “There is a meeting being called today (Friday) and tomorrow (Saturday) by the veterans league. I have checked with HQ and a told there is no such league. The president stopped it and nothing has changed.”

“What we know is that Cde Mahiya is coming here to help Cde Kazembe Kazembe’s campaign for the provincial chairmanship outside the party’s regulations. Please, do not be used to destroy the party. If someone is defying the president’s orders so openly, he is a rebel. Let’s be careful,” Parirenyatwa wrote.

Sources in the party also said Mahiya was campaigning heavily for Kazembe after he received a US$20 000 cash inducement.

“Everyone knows he was given US$20 000 to campaign for KK and he is now all out to please the paymaster. He wants to pretend as if he is holding meetings for the war veterans outfit but we know it was put on hold by the president. In fact, that is not the way Zanu PF operates. Zanu PF does not put structures in only one province. When it decides on a structure, it will be implemented uniformly all over the country and not this,” the source said.

“Mahiya has deployed himself in the province and is moving around telling people not to vote KK out. He has openly endorsed Kazembe,” the source added.

Kazembe denied paying any bribe.

“The 20k thing is something that has been created for the story,” he said, adding: “As for the war veterans programmes, I refer you to the war veterans themselves.”

Mahiya could not be reached for comment as his mobile number was unavailable.