Fresh chaos rocks Zanu PF primaries

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FRESH chaos rocked Zanu PF yesterday ahead of its potentially explosive primary elections on Monday as disqualified aspiring candidates stormed the party headquarters seeking redress, while the national elections directorate struggled to compile the final list of contestants endorsed by the politburo on Wednesday.

Faith Zaba/Brian Chitemba

Several disgruntled candidates who were barred from contesting in the primaries besieged the offices of Zanu PF chairperson Simon Khaya Moyo and political commissar Webster Shamu demanding to be included on the final list.

Some of the aggrieved party officials included a former soldier, one Rwodzi who had been cleared by the Harare provincial elections directorate to contest in the Harare North constituency, Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo’s ex-wife Marian and Sharon Mugabe.

The commissariat department, which conducts elections, took the whole day to compile a list of candidates approved at a politburo meeting which ended at around 11pm on Wednesday night.

This raised concerns among top party officials whether Zanu PF will be able to properly conduct primaries in the 210 constituencies and 1 958 wards as well as to choose candidates for the senatorial seats and 60 women who will be elected through proportional representation in just one day in a bid to shorten processes.

“If we took this long to compile a simple list of candidates, which had already been approved by the politburo, I wonder if we will be able to conduct credible elections in just one day,” said a top politburo official last night.

However, Khaya Moyo said the party was capable of conducting primaries in one day. This comes as the party is truncating even its own internal electoral process by flouting rules and regulations endorsed by the politburo as well as its constitution to meet the July 31 poll date proclaimed by President Robert Mugabe last week.

Mugabe said the Nomination Court will sit on June 28, moves described by lawyers as “unconstitutional” and “illegal”.

Initially, under the party’s election guideline Article 7(34)(1)13.1 on the procedure for conducting primary elections, the party had a provision stating its chairperson would inform provinces about dates and venues for primaries two weeks prior to the voting day.

However, the provision was changed to ensure the party shortens its electoral processes to meet Mugabe’s July 31 poll date.

At least 14 days’ notice is needed before primary elections, but the politburo changed this.

So Zanu PF has effectively violated its constitution by using amended rules, regulations and procedures without the endorsement of the central committee, its main decision-making body outside congress.
According to Article 7(34) of the party’s constitution, the central committee has the powers to “make rules, regulations and procedures to govern the conduct of the party and its members”.

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