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  • Zimbabwe's Elections 2013 - Index of Articles

  • Infighting-riddled Zanu-PF not equipped for early election
    Kennedy Maposa, Mail and Guardian (SA)
    June 07, 2013

    View this article on The Mail and Guardian (SA) website

    The Zimbabwe ConCourt ruled that elections should be held by July 31 but Zanu-PF is ill-prepared for the poll despite pushing for an early date.

    It is also battling division that threatens its prospects.

    Party insiders said, although their party president, Robert Mugabe, had been calling for early elections to end a coalition government with Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Commerce and Industry Minister Welshman Ncube, Zanu-PF needed more time to put its house in order.

    Tsvangirai and Ncube argued that the poll should be held only after the media, police and army were reformed, as they favoured Zanu-PF in their current state.

    A senior Zanu-PF central committee member, who asked not to be named, said the party was ravaged by infighting, which could undermine its chances.

    "You'd understand the call for early elections, which President Mugabe has been making since 2011, is just bluster when you realise the party is in shambles. There are serious internal fights and that's a sign we are not ready for elections."

    Primary elections, succession

    He said the infighting was the reason the party had still not held its primary elections to choose candidates to represent it, despite an announcement at its December 2012 conference that the primaries would be held in February.

    "Women are fighting for special dispensation in primary elections, and youth are calling for space. But senior members are positioning themselves to succeed Mugabe and might refuse to give in," he said.

    A member of Zanu-PF's youth wing told the Mail & Guardian: "We are still fighting for space through electoral positions in the forthcoming elections, but the old guard is refusing to let up because it is eyeing top positions and deciding the successor to President Mugabe. It doesn't want to be sidelined."

    Zanu-PF is preoccupied with the succession question. The party recently tasked national chairperson Simon Khaya-Moyo and a committee that includes the secretary for administration, Didymus Mutasa, and State Security Minister Sydney Sekeramai to reorganise provincial structures and rally provincial party support for Mugabe's candidature.

    But the mission has been largely viewed by Mnangagwa-aligned party members as being targeted at Defence Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa's faction, which is competing for power against a faction led by Vice-President Joice Mujuru.

    Khaya-Moyo is tipped to replace the late vice-president, Joseph Msika, and Mutasa is reportedly eyeing the chairmanship in the event Khaya-Moyo is elevated.

    Controversial restructuring

    Together with Mujuru, they are favouring promotion based on the administrative hierarchy, which would place Mujuru in a position to replace Mugabe. Moyo's restructuring has not been without controversy in the party.

    Although his team was successful in removing the Mike Madiro-led provincial executive in Manicaland, its efforts have been resisted in other provinces, particularly in Masvingo, where members have warned that the removal of their current executive would force members to campaign for the opposition.

    "Succession is the reason why primary elections have not been held up to now, despite having been planned for February," the central committee member said.

    Interestingly, Khaya-Moyo will also preside over a national elections directorate, whose composition is to be determined by the central committee. It will control, monitor and supervise all of the party's electoral campaigns and will also be responsible for the conduct of the party's primary elections.

    Mnangagwa allies said their concern was that Khaya-Moyo might use his position in that directorate to influence the selection of candidates and favour those in Mujuru's camp.

    At the party's last central committee meeting in May, Mnangagwa, who is the party's secretary for legal affairs, announced rules and regulations to govern primary elections to choose local government, provincial council, parliamentary and senatorial candidates. Those rules are also proving to be a bone of contention.


    The rules stipulate that applicants for positions in provincial councils and the national assembly must be registered voters over the age of 40 and must have contributed to the liberation war and the development of Zimbabwe "consistently and persistently and must have been a member of the party for more than 10 years with a clear, undisputed track record".

    The rules further say members of state security organs can be exempt from the above rules if they can prove that they could not serve the party in those roles because of their employment.

    The party's youth is unhappy with the rules. A youth member eyeing a parliamentary seat in Harare said the rules explicitly sought to exclude them.

    But Zanu-PF's secretary for youth affairs, Absolom Sikhosana, said they had received an unequivocal commitment that "nobody would stand in the way of youth" in the forthcoming elections.

    "This is their time. Those youths who have taken a keen interest in the elections should come forward. If the youth are the people's choice, are popular, they will represent the party," Sikhosana said.

    The Women's League has sought amendments to the rules, proposing that men be barred from contesting in constituencies already held by female MPs so that those seats remain for women.

    Contacted for comment, the party's secretary for information and publicity, Rugare Gumbo, denied that it was in a quandary, but admitted that it was re-examining its rules and regulations after representations from the Women's League.

    In a clear sign that some of the party's older members will resist youth seeking nomination, Mashonaland East provincial party chairperson Ray Kaukonde dismissed 34-year-old musician Energy Mutodi's plans to contest for a parliamentary seat in Goromonzi West.

    He berated Mutodi and other aspiring MPs for "thinking that Zanu-PF is desperate. We are not desperate".

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