A CLAUSE has been inserted in the amended Zanu PF constitution to deal with the election of a new party leader in the event that President Robert Mugabe — who has been in charge since 1977 — goes for whatever reason.
For a long time Zanu PF members and leaders have been worried that there is a grey area on what happens should Mugabe leave office before his five-year term ends in 2018, but the newly inserted clause provides clarity.
According to Section 26(2) of the new Zanu PF constitution, an extraordinary session of congress may be convened “in the event of a vacancy occurring in the Office of National President requiring the party to nominate a successor, at the instance of the secretary for administration”.
This is in compliance with the national constitution, which states if the president resigns, is incapacitated or dies, the last acting president takes over for 90 days after which his party has to elect a successor for the remainder of the tenure.
However, under normal congresses held every five years, it is implied in a section that talks about the composition of the central committee that the president and first secretary of the party is elected nationally by party members after obtaining nominations from at least two provinces.
According to section 35(1) of the constitution, the central committee shall among the 300 members comprise “President and First Secretary, nominated by at least two provinces and elected nationally by party members for his or her probity, integrity and commitment to the party, its ideology, values, principles and policies.”
This means during normal congresses, a person with at least two nominating provinces will have to win a national primary election in which card-carrying members — who as at December 2014 stood at 866 701 — will vote by secret ballot.