THE rules and regulations for election into the Zanu PF central committee crafted by the party’s national elections directorate, and endorsed by the politburo with minor changes last week, have become the new battleground for factional battles amid revelations members of Justice minister Emmerson Mnangagwa’s faction are strenuously pushing for their urgent review.
Owen Gagare/Faith Zaba
There is a feeling in the Mnangagwa camp the rules and regulations — which require that candidates aspiring to stand for election onto the central committee must have served in the party structures for a period of not less than 15 consecutive years — were targeted at emasculating their faction.
In addition, the regulations state that aspiring central committee members must not have been convicted of any criminal offence or suffered insolvency. They must not have been found guilty or convicted by the party’s disciplinary committees during the past five years.
Those aspiring to be on the national executive of the youth league must be 35 years old or younger and must have served in the national youth league executive before. They should have been provincial executive members for five years or more.
The rules and regulations are a body blow for the Mnangagwa faction which had several members suspended or expelled from the party ahead of the 2004 congress after they convened a meeting in Tsholotsho which was meant to catapult Mnangagwa to the vice-presidency, thus strategically placing him to land the presidency.
The meeting had also agreed that the presidency would circulate among the country’s four major ethnic groups, the Ndebele, Karanga, Manyika and Zezurus.
Major casualties of the Tsholotsho declaration include Information, Media and Broadcasting Services minister Jonathan Moyo, who was expelled from the party in 2005 and only re-admitted in 2009.
When details of the meeting were leaked to President Robert Mugabe, Zanu PF officials moved to punish Moyo by setting aside the Tsholotsho seat for a woman candidate although Zanu PF structures in the district had chosen him as candidate.
He ran as an independent in the 2005 parliamentary elections resulting in his expulsion from the party.
Speaker of the National Assembly Jacob Mudenda, former Masvingo provincial chairman Daniel Shumba, former Manicaland chairman Mike Madiro and former cabinet minister July Moyo are also among the high-profile casualties of the Tsholotsho declaration.
The new regulations mean they would be ineligible for the central committee unless Mugabe uses his discretion to appoint them. The Zanu PF constitution empowers Mugabe to appoint 10 officials of his choice into the central committee.
Some members of Zanu PF provincial executives deemed to have been loyal to Mnangagwa were also suspended ahead of Zanu PF provincial elections last year.
These include former Masvingo provincial chairperson Lovemore Matuke and former provincial secretary for administration Edmund Mhere, who were punished for endorsing expelled Bikita West legislator Munyaradzi Kereke’s candidacy ahead of the July 31, 2013 elections.
Madiro had bounced back to be Manicaland provincial chairperson after suspension in 2004, but was suspended again last year along with five other provincial executive members for allegedly abusing party positions to defraud companies operating in the Chiadzwa diamond fields.
Madiro was later acquitted in court.
Zanu PF Bulawayo Province chairperson Isaac Dakamela, who was also sympathetic to Mnangagwa, was suspended in 2012 after being accused of incompetence and arrogance.
“It’s quite clear that there was a serious factional dimension to the regulations and that’s why we will fight them in the hope they will be reversed. The regulations have also shut out the youths because most of them have not been active in the party for 15 consecutive years,” said a Zanu PF official.
“A process to have the regulations relaxed is underway.”
However, a top Zanu PF official aligned to Vice-President Joice Mujuru’s faction disputed this assertion saying the drafting of the regulations and guidelines is the primary responsibility of the secretary for legal affairs, who is Mnangagwa.
“This is Mnangagwa’s baby, so they cannot cry foul. Mnangagwa is part of the elections directorate and the mobilisation committee which first came up with the proposals,” he said.
“The guidelines are then crafted by Mnangagwa and this is the reason why he made the announcement at a press conference.”
However, Mnangagwa is surrounded by top Mujuru sympathisers in the mobilisation committee and national elections directorate.
Zanu PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo said he was not aware of any moves towards the establishment of a committee to look into the regulations as is being widely reported.
“There is no way they can be reversed because they were passed by the national elections directorate and politburo. We are not doing this for ourselves, but for the future,” he said.
The party’s national chairman Simon Khaya Moyo who also chairs the national elections directorate said claims concerning moves to change the regulations were news to him.
“These regulations were passed by the politburo and I have not heard anything to the contrary. As the chairman of the party and chairman of the national elections directorate, I have not heard of any proposals for change.”
The regulations also have ramifications on the battle for the vice-presidency, as they mean that Ambassador Phelekezela Mphoko is effectively ruled out of the running.
Mphoko, who was facing an uphill battle considering that he was not in the Zanu PF structures, was campaigning for the position and recently met Mugabe to push for his candidacy, but was advised to engage the structures.
The regulations also have a major say on who is appointed into the politburo as members are selected from the central committee.