via Mujuru stages ‘palace coup’ – NewsDay Zimbabwe 2 July 2014
THE ruling Zanu PF party has set new rules that will see officials who have not served for at least five years in its provincial structures fail to make it into the central committee at its December elective congress in a move insiders said would entrench divisions, NewsDay has learnt.
The guidelines were interpreted as a “palace coup” by Vice-President Joice Mujuru’s faction as they were reportedly hewn along divisive lines upstaging Justice minister Emmerson Mnangagwa’s followers for the control of structures ahead of the elective congress.
The rules, which were decided by the party’s national election directorate headed by national chairman Simon Khaya Moyo last Wednesday, would be implemented on Women and Youth Leagues who would be the first to hold their congress before the main event in December.
The meeting held at the party headquarters was also attended by national secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa and political commissar Webster Shamu, among other leaders.
NewsDay understands that the politburo was expected to rubberstamp the changes that could effectively shut out all candidates across all wings of the party – with the Youth League being the hardest hit soon.
The stringent entry requirements could claim the scalps of several new provincial executives allegedly sympathetic to Mnangagwa, one of the alleged frontrunners in the succession race.
Mnangagwa and Mujuru were reportedly fighting clandestinely to succeed President Robert Mugabe (90) although both have publicly denied harbouring such ambitions.
The new rules rubbished proposals made during a meeting between secretary for youth Absolom Sikhosana and some provincial youth chairpersons recently urging the party not to put stringent measures as they would exclude youths most of whom did not
have the requisite five years.
Sikhosana’s proposals were shot down following the Khaya-Moyo, Mutasa and Shamu meeting which ensured the current leadership was not challenged at the congress.
Khaya-Moyo, Mutasa and Shamu were reportedly sympathetic to the Mujuru camp.
According to the draft guidelines for central committee, women and youths league, candidates aspiring to stand election into the central committee should have “served in the party for a period of 20 consecutive years, five of which must have been served as a provincial executive member.”
The same conditions apply for the women’s league while those who would contest positions in the youth league should be above 35 years of age, served in the national executive before and served in the provincial executive for five years and above.
Sources told NewsDay that the new rules, which excluded military officials, would likely cause more friction in Zanu PF with most officials perceiving them as targeting certain individuals along factional lines.
For all the three categories, anyone with a criminal record and was once convicted by the party’s disciplinary committee would also not be eligible.
Those who want to take up positions in the 240 member central committee would apply to the party’s national elections directorate prior to campaigning. Of the 240 central committee positions, 130 would be decided according to census results.
Khaya-Moyo, who is also Senior Minister, confirmed the new rules that would discount military officials from contesting, but said they were yet to be endorsed by the politburo.
He added the meeting last week was meant to check on women and youth leagues’ state of preparedness for the December congress.
“I will report to the politburo and they will consider our recommendations. It’s the politburo that has the final say,” Khaya-Moyo said.
But sources told NewsDay that the new rules would cause more friction as many party cadres, some of them serving in the provincial executives, would never meet the new criteria.
“Some are in provincial executives and MPs while others had been appointed as government ministers without serving for even a single year in the party,” a party official who requested anonymity said.
“The issue is rules are set in Zanu PF, but they are not followed. They simply target certain individuals while others get away with it.”
Another insider added: “It was decided that only officials who have served in the Provincial Coordinating Committee (PCC) for five years and above would be eligible to take up positions in the national executive, except members from the military.”
Party spokesperson Rugare Gumbo last Friday also said the politburo would soon meet to deliberate on the new guidelines.
“We will make a formal announcement on the guidelines after the politburo has met next week [this week],” Gumbo said.
Although some youth leaders welcomed the draft rules most of them had only spent six months in the provincial structures before they were voted into the national organ. The sources said Midlands’ Edison Chakanyuka, Manicaland’s Kudzi Chipanga, Mike Gava (Mashonaland West); John Mushayi (Mashonaland East) and Obert Mutasa (Mashonaland Central) all of whom were interested parties supported the move to exclude potential competition in another meeting with Sikhosana.
Chakanyuka, who is also deputy national secretary for youth affairs and was set to lock horns with Gokwe Nembudziya MP Justice Mayor Wadyajena and Chipanga – a Mutasa proxy, welcomed the rules as they “allowed people with the right party orientation” to take up leadership positions.
“We were allowed to the national executive after serving five years in the provincial structure,” Chakanyuka said after reports that the rules targeted some individuals along factional lines.
Before the new guidelines Chakanyuka was set to face stiff competition from Wadyajena.
Harare provincial youth chairman Godwin Gomwe and central committee member Chipanga refused to comment on the issue saying they had not seen the rules. He, however, said the guidelines would be met with mixed reactions.
“I will only comment when I see the guidelines,” Chipanga said.
Matabeleland North provincial youth chair Tamuka Nyoni said the challenge for the youth would be on the age limit as only a few people would have served for five years in provincial structures.
Masvingo provincial youth chairperson Oliver Huruva added that the rules were welcome as long as they were endorsed by the central committee and politburo, saying the guidelines would allow aspirants with knowledge of the party’s ideologies to occupy national positions.
“Why hurry. People should wait until their time comes. The guidelines are welcome,” Huruva said.
Zanu PF readmitted Makonde MP Kindness Paradza into the party in 2012 after he stood for Mavambo/Kusile/Dawn (MKD) in the 2008 general elections. Another ex-MKD candidate for Marondera East constituency Isaac Gadzikwa was also readmitted. The same applied to information minister Jonathan Moyo who was admitted back into the politburo before he completed his five-year ban.
The new central committee will have to be endorsed by the congress, while Mugabe was also expected to fill in vacant politburo positions for endorsement by the same congress.