Makoni expulsion ‘unconstitutional’

INDEPENDENT presidential candidate Simba Makoni was unconstitutionally expelled from Zanu PF last week amid reports that the party’s secretary for legal affairs, Emmerson Mnangagwa, was manipulating the constitution to guarantee President Robert Mugabe’s continued stay in power.

Impeccable sources told the Zimbabwe Independent this week that Makoni was fired by the party using rules and regulations governing primary parliamentary polls, not a presidential election.”The rules and regulations the politburo relied on to expel Makoni were not crafted for the presidential election, but to govern primary parliamentary polls,” a senior Zanu PF member said.

“His expulsion is unconstitutional in that due process was not followed and rules and regulations they cited do not refer to a presidential election.”

The source said if Makoni had breached provisions of the party’s constitution, the chairperson of the national disciplinary committee, John Nkomo, should have suspended the former Finance minister and instituted a hearing.

“Due process was not followed because Mnangagwa made a misrepresentation to the politburo that Makoni had snubbed rules and regulations governing elections and had, therefore, expelled himself from the party,” the source added.

Makoni was dismissed from Zanu PF after announcing his presidential ambitions on February 5 and said he intended to contest the March 29 election representing the ruling party.

Mnangagwa immediately issued a statement that Makoni had expelled himself from the party — a decision that was later rubberstamped at a hastily convened politburo meeting on February 11.

This prompted Makoni to announce that he would stand for the presidential poll as an independent candidate. Makoni will fight it out for the country’s highest office with Mugabe, the MDC’s Morgan Tsvangirai and independent candidate Langton Toungana.

According to a statement issued by Zanu PF secretary for information and publicity Nathan Shamuyarira a day after the politburo meeting, Makoni had breached the central committee’s “rules, regulations and procedures to govern the conduct of the party and its members”.

Shamuyarira said in terms of such rules, any member of Zanu PF who, after the due process of selecting candidates has been done, decides to stand as an independent, expels himself in terms of Section 19.1 of the regulations.

The Section read: “Any member of the party who stands as an independent candidate in any parliamentary election shall stand automatically expelled from the party without recourse to any procedure, in which event the elections directorate shall be required to: (1) enter the name of such expelled member in its records including the circumstances giving rise to the automatic expulsion.”

Shamuyarira claimed that in the case of Makoni, Zanu PF held its extraordinary congress after giving two months’ notice to all provinces about the event and the agenda thereto.

“Neither Simba Makoni nor Manicaland province forwarded his name for consideration for party candidacy for state president,” Shamuyarira said.

He said paragraph three of the resolution of the congress was clear that Mugabe was to stand as the party’s candidate in terms of Article 6(30)(3).

“Therefore, any party member, Simba Makoni included, who decides to stand as a Zanu PF candidate after this due process, stands automatically expelled from the party,” Shamuyarira said.

However, the sources said the rules were meant for primary parliamentary elections and would in no way affect Makoni.

The source said it was Mnangagwa who was manipulating the constitution to the benefit of Mugabe.

“People must understand that Mnangagwa also manipulated the constitution to have Mugabe endorsed and confirmed our party’s presidential candidate at the extraordinary congress,” a politburo member said.

The politburo member said in terms of the ruling party constitution, a congress of any nature is convened to elect, not endorse candidates and Makoni was correct when he said he was denied the right to assume the reins of power in Zanu PF.

“The clause of the constitution that was used to endorse Mugabe refers to the party’s annual all people’s conference, which has the power to confirm the party’s president as state presidential candidate, not the congress,” another source said.

Mugabe was last December reportedly endorsed party presidential candidate fraudulently after Mnangagwa manipulated provisions of the constitution despite stiff resistance from fellow politburo members Dumiso Dabengwa and retired army general Solomon Mujuru.

According to Article 6(30)(3) of the constitution cited by Shamuyarira, it is the Zanu PF conference that has the power to “declare the president of the party elected at congress as the state presidential candidate of the party”.

Makoni, who initially said he would only leave Zanu PF after due process was followed, last week declined to comment on his expulsion.

“That (expulsion) now belongs to the past. I am now forward looking, but let me say Mnangagwa and Shamuyarira know the truth,” Makoni told a media conference.

Mugabe last year roped in Mnangagwa, war veterans leader Jabulani Sibanda, and the women and youth leagues to drum up support for his continued Zanu PF leadership, amid serious divisions in the party over his succession.

Mujuru reportedly wanted Mugabe to quit politics and be replaced by his wife, Joice Mujuru, who is the country’s second vice-president.

Constantine Chimakure

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