Zanu PF in major climbdown

via Zanu PF in major climbdown – NewsDay Zimbabwe 17 July 2014 by Everson Mushava

ZANU PF has reportedly climbed down on the tough election guidelines recently set ahead of the December elective congress, with reports that a committee has been appointed to re-look at the new criteria.

The ruling party last week announced a raft of election rules and regulations that will see members who have not served for 15 consecutive years barred from contesting central committee and women’s league positions ahead of the congress.

Five of the 15 years should have been served in the party’s provincial structures.

But party sources said Zanu PF legal affairs secretary and Justice minister Emmerson Mnangagwa was tasked by President Robert Mugabe to amend the rules to contain the simmering dissent within party structures.

“Yes, the guidelines are being looked into with the view of revising them,” an insider said.

A senior Zanu PF official said some members were arguing that the new guidelines were a result of the factional fights between Vice-President Joice Mujuru and Mnangagwa’s camps to succeed 90-year-old Mugabe.

“The rules will be amended. The party has appointed a committee led by the party’s legal affairs secretary to review them,” the insider said. Mnangagwa was believed to be fighting back, forcing a clause into the new guidelines that the allocation of seats in the central committee be done according to the strength of the party in the province, a move set to weaken the Mujuru faction in urban provinces.

But party spokesperson Rugare Gumbo yesterday professed ignorance over the new directive to review the guidelines.

He insisted that the party position remained the same until further notice.

“I don’t know anything about that committee. The position of the party is clear and I don’t think there will be any adjustments. The rules were approved by the Politburo. The rules were not made to target individuals. They affect every member of the party,” Gumbo said.

He said any changes could only be done by the party’s national electoral directorate headed by Zanu PF national chairman Simon Khaya-Moyo.

The rules were announced ahead of the party’s youth league conference to be held between August 7 to 10 and women’s conference (August 20 to 22).

The rules have been largely viewed as a blow to a faction reportedly loyal to Mnangagwa.

It is understood that Mnangagwa’s faction was making spirited efforts to save the political skins of its loyalists.

Some party stalwarts who were reportedly Mnangagwa loyalists were suspended in 2004 for participating in the infamous Tsholotsho meeting which was perceived as an attempt to stage a boardroom coup on the presidium against Mugabe’s preferred choice of Mujuru.

Politburo member and Information, Media and Broadcasting Services minister Jonathan Moyo was reportedly one of the casualties of the new rules as he was suspended in 2005 for contesting as an independent candidate in Tsholotsho.

Ex-Manicaland provincial chairperson Mike Madiro, Daniel Shumba (Masvingo), Speaker of Parliament Jacob Mudenda (Matabeleland North) and July Moyo (Midlands) were reportedly among those who could face difficulties if the new rules were not amended.

They were readmitted into the party in 2009 after serving five-year suspensions.

Others who could also face challenges include Makonde MP Kindness Paradza and Marondera East constituency MP Isaac Gadzikwa who were readmitted into the party in 2012 after they stood for Simba Makoni’s Mavambo/Kusile/Dawn project in the 2008 general elections. Phillip Chiyangwa will also fall by the wayside.

The five-year cap could, however, favour youth league aspiring candidates Edison Chakanyuka, Manicaland’s Kudzi Chipanga, Mike Gava (Mashonaland West), John Mushayi (Mashonaland East) and Obert Mutasa (Mashonaland Central) who had been in the provincial and national structures for over five years.

Before the new guidelines, Chakanyuka was set to face stiff competition from youthful businessman and Gokwe Nembudziya MP Justice Mayor Wadyajena.