via Mujuru prevails – DailyNews Live 5 September 2014 by Lloyd Mbiba and Fungi Kwaramba
HARARE – Zanu PF’s highest decision making body, the politburo, on Wednesday upheld the Youth and Women’s League election results, keeping alive vice president Joice Mujuru’s bid to retain her post as second secretary.
Led by President Robert Mugabe, the politburo, as expected, rejected a last-ditch attempt by the losing rival faction reportedly led by Justice minister Emmerson Mnangagwa, to overturn the elections result tainted by allegations of widespread cheating.
Mujuru has swept the decks in all the party elections, leaving the rival Mnangagwa faction reeling.
The politburo verdict cannot be appealed against.
“The politburo endorsed the two results for the Youths as well as for the Women’s League,” Zanu PF spokesman Rugare Gumbo told a news conference around 10pm on Wednesday night after the meeting that lasted 10 hours.
With the legal hurdles out of the way, Mujuru would be able to speed up her faction’s preparations ahead of the December congress, where she is now a favourite to retain her post as Zanu PF’s second secretary, despite a mooted internal challenge by the rival faction.
A senior official in the Mnangagwa faction told the Daily News yesterday: “We feel we have taken this case as far as we can go.”
He, however, said the politburo concluded that poll irregularities were a factor in the poll outcome, but not enough to justify overturning the result.
“The scale of the election tinkering has to be kept in perspective,” added the official.
“The number of the complaints received indicates that the voter suppression effort was widespread but thinly scattered.”
The ruling left both sides in the dispute — the Mujuru faction in one corner and the rival Mnangagwa faction in another — claiming victory of some sort.
Officials in the Mnangagwa faction said they tabled the challenge because they wanted the truth to come out.
“I was appalled that someone tried to manipulate the youth elections in that manner, an irregularity raised by mukuru (the President) himself,” he said.
Members of the Mnangagwa-led faction made serious but unsuccessful overtures to try and dissolve the youth elections, that were won resoundingly by the Mujuru camp last month.
The Mnangagwa faction had alleged “massive” fraud in the election.
Six party provincial chairpersons, sympathetic to the Mujuru camp, would have been shown the door had the Mnangagwa faction triumphed.
“They (the Mnangagwa camp) wanted the youth elections overturned but the President said he was above the situation and knew what was happening in the party,” said a high-level source aligned to the Mujuru camp.
“At the end, it was resolved not to discipline the chairpersons.”
Mugabe however gave in to pressure from the Mnangagwa faction to have charges against youth leaders aligned to the faction, who have been suspended or are facing disciplinary measures, dropped.
Gumbo told journalists that the politburo meeting was frank as members openly aired their views.
“In there, everybody put his cards on the table and answered whatever was alleged to have happened so it was a really straightforward meeting,” Gumbo said.
He said Mugabe was in control of the ruling party and no one was misinforming him.
“The president made it clear that he is in control and he is still charge,” Gumbo said.
“He said he is not misinformed as he is briefed by government officials, party officials and the state intelligence. He said he is on top of the situation.”
Prior to the politburo meeting, top party officials publicly tore into each other in front of journalists, with one minister remarking that Gumbo is a sell-out who fed the Mozambican government with secret Zanu PF information.
Confirming the fault lines in Zanu PF, politburo members arrived in groups, exchanged terse greetings with their perceived rivals and kept a distance from officials from a rival faction.
On Monday Gumbo issued a press statement where he railed at alleged sell-outs and regime change proponents who he claimed were giving Mugabe fake love.
Gumbo yesterday said he did not want to be drawn into a war of words “over lies”.
A jovial Mugabe, walking slowly and in high spirits, dared Gumbo to reveal the sell-outs as demanded by some party stalwarts such as his nephew Patrick Zhuwawo.
One of Mnangagwa’s key allies told the Daily News on condition of anonymity: “We know who rebelled against our president in Mozambique. We know who plotted the bhora musango in Goromonzi in 2008. We know those who worked against our President. We are not fools, we want them out.”
Meanwhile the majority of politburo members — wether sulking or celebrating — made their way to the resort town of Kariba yesterday, where Mugabe conducted the “ground-breaking” ceremony of the Kariba Dam expansion project.