By Patrice Makova
AN extra ordinary Zanu PF Politburo meeting, which ended in the early hours of yesterday turned stormy, with senior party officials who appended their signatures to the new draft constitution coming under fire for allegedly “selling out” to the two MDC’s, it has emerged.
Sources said for over 12 hours, Politburo members took turns to grill the party’s team of negotiators, led by Justice minister, Patrick Chinamasa, Transport, Communication and Infrastructural Development minister, Nicolas Goche, as well as Copac co-chairperson, Munyaradzi Paul Mangwana, accusing the three of having compromised on the party’s tough position.
They said it was interesting to note that there was a convergence of views between rival members of the faction led by vice-president, Joice Mujuru and that loyal to Defence minister, Emmerson Mnangagwa, as they literally took turns to tear apart the proposed draft.
“Chinamasa, Goche and Mangwana came under intense criticism for agreeing to provisions which the party is against, but they stood their ground as they tried to explain the merits of the draft,” said a Politburo member.
“The view of many members was that the party representatives in the Copac process had sold out as the proposed constitution was merely a copy and paste from the Kariba draft and the South African constitution.”
He said Mangwana was particularly reprimanded for publicly criticising Zanu PF technical adviser in Copac, Godwills Masimirembwa and Politburo member, Professor Jonathan Moyo, who are opposed to the current draft.
“Mangwana was told that Masimirembwa and Moyo are technocrats who had the blessing of the party,” said the party source, hours after the Politburo meeting which ended at 1:30am yesterday after it started at 1pm on Friday.
Some of the issues which Zanu PF wants struck off or amended include that of executive powers, dual citizenship, and appointment of provincial governors, traditional leader’s powers and the definition of war veterans.
Another source said the Politburo wanted the constitution to clearly state that homosexuality was forbidden and that a black or indigenous Zimbabwean was the only person who qualified to stand as a Presidential candidate, but Chinamasa argued that this would be discriminatory.
He said the politburo also demanded that the section which stipulates that governors would be appointed by the party with majority seats in a province should be struck off.
They argued that it should be the prerogative of the President to appoint governors.
On the issue of the two Presidential running mates, the Zanu PF official said members of both the Mujuru and Mnangagwa factions were in agreement that this new provision should be in the constitution.
“Mujuru thinks that this provision will automatically make her the first running mate by virtue of being the most senior party official after Mugabe,” said the official.
“Mnangagwa, on the other hand, is of the view that by the virtue of having been Mugabe’s election agent in past elections, he should also be selected as one of the running mates.”
Asked whether the Politburo had indeed rebuked him, Mangwana referred questions to Zanu PF spokesperson, Rugare Gumbo.
“Nothing like that was said, but if you want to be a good journalist, talk to the party spokesperson to get a full report,” he said.
Gumbo was not answering his phone yesterday. He was however quoted as saying, the Politburo finished an initial review of the draft and would meet again this week to examine the cleaned draft and come up with the party’s position.
Chinamasa said he was out of town attending a meeting and would only be able to comment on Monday. Goche was also not answering his phone yesterday.