Zanu PF has started rolling out the process to overhaul its central committee and politburo ahead of the December congress, which is expected to set the tone for a post-President Robert Mugabe era, leaked communication to party structures has revealed. By Everson Mushava
Mugabe has powers to handpick the politburo and he is now expected to use the congress to weed out perceived enemies.
According to a letter dated October 18 and sent to all central committee, national consultative assembly, women’s league, youth league, provincial co-ordinating committee and district executive members, the realignment will start in the coming weeks.
The Zanu PF secretary for administration Ignatius Chombo, who signed the letter said the congress will run from December 12 to 17 at an open area on the outskirts of Harare’s central business district, popularly known as Freedom Square.
Chombo listed the agenda of the congress, which includes the election of central committee members and constitutional amendments to include the women’s quota in the presidium.
“To take stock of the state of the party and to realign its structures, including the election of central committee members in light of recent developments that have implications on the unity and programmes of the party ahead of the 2018 harmonised general elections,” reads the second agenda on the item.
Zanu PF sources said the item referred to Mugabe’s ongoing onslaught against Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa and his Team Lacoste faction.
The VP is accused of plotting against the 93-year-old ruler and in the past two months the first family have stepped up public attacks against him.
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Mugabe a fortnight ago stripped Mnangagwa of the Justice ministry in a Cabinet reshuffle that also claimed the scalps of three ministers who were considered to leading members of Team Lacoste.
Last week Zanu PF suspended Masvingo provincial chairman Ezra Chadzamira, provincial youth commissar Brian Munyoro Midlands youth secretary for administration Justice Mayor Wadjajena and acting provincial deputy chairman Godwin Shiri on allegations of fomenting tribalism and attacking party leaders.
Mugabe has in the past complained that Masvingo and Midlands have formed a tribal alliance in the battle to succeed him. Zanu PF insiders say the veteran ruler will use the congress to install his preferred successor, whom many now believe is Defence minister Sidney Sekeremayi.
Chombo said the congress will also change Zanu PF’s constitution to accommodate a female vice president, which is another way to manage the succession issue, sources said.
“To make necessary constitutional amendments including the women’s quota in the presidium as per 2015 and 2016 resolutions of the national people’s conferences of Victoria Falls and Masvingo respectively,” reads the last agenda item, which has caused panic in Mnangagwa’s camp.
Another school of thought suggests that Grace will be elevated to the vice president position and Mugabe will have three deputies.
Well-placed sources told The Standard that Chombo’s letter was dispatched to provinces and party organs last Friday.
Zanu PF will soon issue a statement giving allocations of members to be appointed to the central committee for each province, the source said.
“The party’s secretary for administration met the provincial chairpersons on Friday and dispatched the letters that advise them to prepare for elections of new central committee members,” a source close to the developments said.
“Chombo also advised the provincial chairs to go and advise the inter-district conference of the people who should attend the special congress.”
Chombo was not picking calls yesterday.
There has been confusion on what the congress will be about following conflicting statements issued by provincial executives when they met to endorse the indaba.
The provinces were all in agreement that the congress will endorse Mugabe’s candidature for the 2018 general elections.
However, some provinces stated that the congress will reconfigure the party structures to suit the political developments in the party, a statement seen by Mnangagwa backers as targeting the under fire VP.
Meanwhile, Chadzamira is accused of manipulating Masvingo’s resolutions to suit his faction’s agenda.
In the end Masvingo issued two conflicting statements.
Chadzamira is accused of removing a resolution that recommended calls for an “urgent need to take stoke of the part as well as its programmes and where necessary, to realign the party structures and party programmes in light of recent political developments in or outside the party and the 2018 general elections in terms of section 30 of the said constitution.”
The statement released by Chadzamira only had the endorsement of Mugabe as the party’s candidate for the 2018 elections only.