ZANU PF leader President Robert Mugabe and his political hirelings have been mutilating the party’s constitution to oust Vice-President Joice Mujuru and decimate her allies ahead of next week’s congress, Zanu PF insiders have said.
Ousted chairpersons and other party bigwigs say Zanu PF has not been following proper constitutional procedures in votes of no confidence which have seen eight provincial chairpersons, Youth and Women’s League executives, senior politburo and central committee members being booted out as the purges to wipe out those aligned to the Mujuru faction intensify. Bulwayo chairman Callistus Ndlovu has since been re-instated, but his tenure remains precarious.
Matabeleland North chairman Richard Moyo survived as he is aligned to the faction led by Justice minister Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Ousted fiery Mashonaland West chairperson Temba Mliswa told the Zimbabwe Independent this week the constitution was “butchered” with reckless abandon for narrow political agendas.
“The party constitution was ‘butchered’ left, right and centre with the politburo and the national disciplinary committee allowing such unconstitutional processes to go on.”
Mliswa also said the party constitution is very clear, according to the general provision Article 29(251), on who has the power to pass a vote of no confidence on office bearers.
“A motion of no confidence shall be by a simple majority of all members of the appropriate organ,” reads the constitution which Mliswa says was violated because war veterans, youths and office bearers who do not constitute the provincial executive were illegally used to boot out some officials.
Mugabe has also allowed the youth league, women assembly and war veterans to dictate who gets selected in the powerful central committee through flawed elections.
Ousted Masvingo provincial chairperson Callisto Gwanetsa said questions over the manner chairpersons were booted out need to be directed to the party’s national chairperson Simon Khaya Moyo, who also chairs the party’s disciplinary committee, but had questions.
“Those questions need to be referred to the national chairperson because he is the national disciplinary action chairperson as well,” Gwanetsa said.
“What does the constitution say about who is supposed to give a vote of no confidence on the provincial chairperson or any office bearer within the party structures?” he asked.
Another former chairperson who requested anonymity said the provincial executive, which consists of only 50 people, is the one which has the power to pass a vote of no confidence in a chairperson.
“If we follow the constitution, then the only vote of no confidence that can stand is the Midlands one where chairperson Jason Machaya was ousted,” the Zanu PF official said. “Machaya chaired that meeting where a vote of no confidence was passed on him and 44 members endorsed the motion out of the 50 who attended.”
Last Sunday, in a move replicated in other provinces against Mujuru allies, youths aligned to Mnangagwa pounced on politburo bigwig Nicholas Goche demanding he be cleared of treason allegations before attending any party meetings.
Goche and other senior Mujuru allies like Rugare Gumbo, Dzikamai Mavhaire, Lazarus Dokora, Sikhanyiso Ndlovu, Simbarashe Mumbengegwi, Francis Nhema, Webster Shamu, Sylvester Nguni, David Butau, Flora Buka, Walter Mzembi, Tendai Savanhu, Kudakwashe Bhasikiti and Didymus Mutasa, among others, have been removed in a merciless bloodbath before congress.
Eight provincial chairpersons were also removed amid allegations of fanning factionalism, corruption, attempts to topple the party leadership and a plot to assassinate Mugabe.
Mujuru also lost her central committee post after her district of origin, Mt Darwin, rejected her CV citing allegations of her plot to assassinate Mugabe.
Senior officials say the party’s proposed constitutional amendments are also being done unprocedurally as steps to be followed when amending the party constitution have been ignored.
The constitution states that “the power to amend the constitution shall vest in the central committee subject to ratification by congress”.
“Any member of the party supported by 50 other members may propose or move an amendment to the constitution and shall be required to submit such proposed amendment to the district co-ordinating committee which shall, on receipt of the said proposed amendment, forward the same to the provincial executive council,” reads the constitution.
It also says: “Any proposed amendments shall be submitted to the secretary for administration at least three months before the date of the meeting of the central committee at which the amendment is to be considered. A two-thirds majority of delegates of central committee present and voting shall be required for the adoption of the proposed amendment to the constitution.”
Ousted officials say this process was not followed.
In 2004, Mujuru was sensationally catapulted to the vice-presidency through the back door courtesy of a controversial constitutional amendment by Mugabe and his backers.
Commenting on the events of 2004, former Zanu PF MP Pearson Mbalekwa said that “the story of Tsholotsho episode has been told albeit by the beneficiaries of a political party that is fraught with hate, fear and a tyrannical leadership”.
“The actual coup against the constitution was not by the so-called Tsholotsho conspirators, but by the politburo that sat at Zanu PF headquarters on November 18, 2004, to undermine the party constitution,” wrote Mbalekwa in the Independent on September 15, 2006. “The constitution was illegally amended to accommodate the preferred candidate of the political mandarins of Zanu PF (Mujuru) when it had become clear that Mnangagwa was heading for a clear victory if the party procedure was followed to elect a new vice-president during the next congress which was due in December 2004.”'