PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe has dealt a major blow to parliamentary hopefuls who wanted to fast-track their entry into parliament next year by short-circuiting party rules.
In an interview screened on ZTV on Monday, Mugabe said Zanu PF would not endorse candidates imposing themselves on constituencies and those claiming to have been chosen through “consensus”.
Mugabe’s statement this week confirms Zanu PF chairman John Nkomo’s disclosure last week in the Zimbabwe Independent that all aspiring candidates must observe the party’s primary election process.
This comes at a time when Information Minister Jonathan Moyo and other aspiring Zanu PF parliamentary candidates have offered themselves without going through primaries in the constituencies they intend to contest in the 2005 election.
Moyo, who is currently an unelected MP, has been setting up development projects in the Tsholotsho constituency. He has already made a public declaration that he wants to be MP for the area.
A host of other Zanu PF politicians, including Masvingo provincial chairman Daniel Shumba and his Manicaland and Mashonaland West counterparts, Mike Madiro and Philip Chiyangwa, have also declared themselves as candidates for Masvingo Central, Mutare South and Chinhoyi respectively.
In the interview, Mugabe said the primaries would be held shortly before or after the party’s congress in December.
Mugabe’s disclosure effectively means that the aspiring candidates will have to go back to the drawing board and face a rigorous selection process through party structures.
Sources in Zanu PF said aspiring candidates are first selected at lower organs of the party such as district co-ordinating committees for verification purposes. Provincial election directorates then deliberate on the proposed names before presenting them to the national commissariat, which presides over a meeting of the national elections directorate to review the submissions.
The candidates’ profiles are then submitted to the politburo for further review before approval.