REELING from widening political divisions and tensions following the recent controversial appointment of its new politburo, Zanu PF is considering establishing a Council of Elders to restore cohesion within its fractured structures.Inside sources said the issue was being vigorously debated and was on the politburo agenda on Wednesday, although discussion on it was postponed after senior party official Emmerson Mnangagwa (pictured), who was due to present a paper on it, left the meeting prematurely due to other commitments.
The establishment of the Council of Elders, a structure which is common in several political parties in Africa and elsewhere in the world, is said to be an attempt to manage uneasy internal relations between the party’s old guard and young turks.
The revived Zapu and the New Patriotic Party of Ghana have councils of elders.
The Zanu PF council would be a mechanism to deal with the growing tensions in the party which intensified after the recent politburo appointments. In his appointments to the politburo, Mugabe retained most of the old guard and failed to renew the aging administrative structure of the central committee of his party. Only a few new and relatively young members were appointed.
Sources said the council would partly address the infighting and divisions in Zanu PF. In theory, the council would supervise the party, although it is mainly going to be a retirement home for aged Zanu PF officials.
“In de jure terms the council of elders will supervise and oversee how the party functions, but de facto it would be a political parkade where elderly members who can no longer be involved in active politics would be retired,” a senior politburo member said.
The Zanu PF politburo meeting on Wednesday discussed indigenisation and economic empowerment with the party approving proposals designed to ensure that companies based in Zimbabwe should have 51% local shareholding. There was also a heated debate on farms.
Zanu PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo confirmed the discussion on the land issues. “He (the president) was very angry. He gets really angry when he talks about corruption and when people don’t do things properly.
The president just pointed out that it was not right to lease out farms and he expects people to be productive when they are given farms,” Gumbo said. “He said that if identified or discovered, those leasing farms will have them taken away.” — Staff Writer.