FIREWORKS are expected at a Zanu PF politburo meeting tomorrow which is set to amend the party constitution to allow President Robert Mugabe to handpick his deputies and national chairperson just over a week before the party’s elective congress in Harare.
If such amendments are effected the vice-presidents are practically going to become lame ducks — meaning powerless — as they will owe their tenures to Mugabe, unlike in the past when their power was derived from grassroots support through nomination by party structures.
The vice-presidents would thus be far much weaker than now if the amendments sail through.
Zanu PF politburo member Josiah Hungwe this week revealed at First Lady Grace Mugabe’s meeting with cross-border traders and vendors in Mazowe that politburo members are agreed that Mugabe, who has already been endorsed by all provinces and party wings to lead the party, should choose his deputies.
“We are going to the congress to endorse President Mugabe. Politburo members, (Oppah) Muchinguri included, have agreed that Mugabe is free to choose those he wants to work with,” Hungwe said. “We have seen many stories in the press calling the congress elective and I want to tell you that it will not be elective at all because some dishonest party members wanted to manipulate the process.”
The amendments are being pushed by Justice minister Emmerson Mnangagwa’s faction as part of efforts to block Vice-President Joice Mujuru’s ascendancy to the presidency which hitherto appeared certain.
The current Zanu PF constitution states in Section 32 (1) that the structure of the presidium is shaped by nominations from the provinces where if a candidate garners more than six nominations is deemed elected and automatically becomes part of the presidium.
In the event that no single candidate garners six or more nominations, the process will be repeated with the top two candidates who garnered the highest votes being re-subjected to a fresh nomination process until one candidate gets the required six nominations.
Tomorrow’s meeting is also expected to uphold the ouster of provincial chairpersons, Women’s League chairs and other provincial executive members who were booted out through controversial votes of no confidence in the last week for allegedly fanning factionalisms
These provincial chairs are Ray Kaukonde (Mashonaland East), Luke Mushore (Mashonaland Central), John Mvundura (Manicaland), and Callistus Ndlovu (Bulawayo) .
Other provincial chairs already kicked out are Amos Midzi (Harare), Andrew Langa (Matabeleland South), Jason Machaya (Midlands), Temba Mliswa (Mashonaland West), and Callisto Gwanetsa (Masvingo).
Women’s League provincial leaders booted out through the votes of no confidence include Joyline Porusingazi (Manicaland) and her deputy Loveness Mutezo; Constance Shamu (Mashonaland West), Aquillina Katsande (Mashonaland East), Dorothy Mashonganyika (Mashonaland Central), Alice Dube (Matabeleland South), Angeline Matambanadzo (Harare), and her replacement Miriam Chikukwa.
Masvingo provincial Women’s League chair Shylet Uyoyo’s ouster was upheld last week.
Other executive members aligned to Mujuru who are facing the chop after votes of no confidence include Reuben Marimahoko and Kindness Paradza from Mashonaland West.
Zanu PF insiders say tomorrow’s meeting might see other top party officials meeting the same fate as former party spokesperson Rugare Gumbo who was last week suspended for five years for allegedly plotting to oust Mugabe.
Also on the firing line are politburo members cited in the state media reports as unwanted, treacherous, or coup-plotters who include Didymus Mutasa, Nicholas Goche, Francis Nhema, Kudakwshe Bhasikiti and Flora Bhuka.
“Even Mujuru is not safe at this meeting. There could be an unexpected vote of no confidence in her. Grace and her allies are determined to get rid of Mujuru before the congress,” said a top politburo member.
Grace this week repeated her calls at Mazowe rallies that Mujuru must resign with immediate effect to avoid being booted out.