via Grace Mugabe rallies gobble millions of dollars 13 October 2014 by Paidamoyo Muzulu
FIRST Lady Grace Mugabe’s whirlwind campaign rallies, which have so far led her to five provinces, are set to gobble millions of dollars given the size of her entourage and amount of resources commandeered to oil the gatherings.
However, the source of funding for the rallies has remained a mystery amid swirling speculation that the mega-rallies, attended by Cabinet ministers and top civil servants, could be feeding from the ailing national fiscus.
By Saturday, Grace had traversed five provinces mostly using two military helicopters including the presidential helicopter, with hordes of Cabinet ministers and provincial heads of government departments on tow. So far she has been to Chinhoyi, Gweru, Harare, Masvingo and Manicaland.
Zanu PF spokesman Rugare Gumbo yesterday professed ignorance over the source of funding for these rallies.
“I really don’t know where the funding is coming from, but you can try the national chairman (Simon Khaya Moyo) or the secretary for administration (Didymus Mutasa) to shed light,” Gumbo said.
Khaya Moyo and Mutasa were not immediately available and had not responded to text messages sent to their mobile phones by the time of going to print.
However, presidential spokesman at congress.
The current Zanu PF presidium comprises of Mugabe, Mujuru and national chairman Simon Khaya. Secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa is head of the party secretariat. Mugabe has since been endorsed by all provinces while nominations for the vice-presidents and national chairman could soon start amid intense jostling ahead of the December congress.
The congress also approves the appointment of Central Committee members and department heads and their deputies.
Gumbo said Section 32 (1) of the Zanu PF constitution stipulated that members of the presidium “shall be elected by congress directly upon nomination by at least six provincial co-ordinating committees of the party, meeting separately in special session called for that purpose.”
In the event that no single candidate garners six or more nominations the process would be repeated with the candidates who garnered the highest votes being resubjected to a fresh nomination until one candidate gets the required six nominations.
Mnangagwa was last month quoted as saying the party constitution provided for one-man-one–vote system and would be amended by his legal committee to create room for a secret vote for members of the presidium.
“That is what the [party] constitution says. If you read the constitution, it says delegates at the congress will vote through the one-man-one vote (system). That is what the party has been doing since 1963,” Mnangagwa, who is also Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs minister, said.
Analysts who requested anonymity described Mnangagwa’s reading of the constitution as wrong. They said the proposed constitutional amendments could be part of a bigger plot to rig out Mujuru from her position and consequently out of the Zanu PF succession matrix.
The analysts added First Lady Grace Mugabe’s entry into the political arena with the contrived aid of outgoing Women’s League boss Oppah Muchinguri added weight to speculative reports that she wanted to thwart Mujuru’s ascendancy.
Ironically, Muchinguri who is now superintending Grace’s campaign unsuccessfully challenged Mujuru for the vice-presidency at the 2009 congress.
Muchinguri who has not publicly stated her next move was strongly suspected of harbouring the ambition to once again challenge Mujuru.
Interestingly, some Zanu PF heavyweights were now calling for the President to appoint his two deputies and the national chairman as a way to stem factionalism associated with campaigning for key positions.
The race for the second vice-president has become murky after three other candidates, Home Affairs minister Kembo Mohadi, ex-Zapu commander and minister Ambrose Mutinhiri and former Ambassador and Zanu PF commander Phelekezela Mphoko, declared interest to challenge Khaya Moyo who until recently looked like an easy shoe-in.
Meanwhile, Mutasa has already been nominated by his Manicaland province to contest for the chairmanship.