ZANU PF national political commissar Saviour Kasukuwere, believed to be a G40 kingpin, proposed this week at the party’s politburo meeting that an extraordinary congress be held in December, two years before it is due in 2019.
Politburo sources said the reason for the push was to ensure the party is united ahead of the 2018 general elections after a gruelling season of infighting, which is threatening to split the liberation party on factional lines.
The politburo met on Wednesday amid vicious factional fights over the unresolved succession of 93-year-old President Robert Mugabe as the two main factions, one led by Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa and the other group referred to as G40, which has coalesced around First Lady Grace Mugabe.
Sources also said Zanu PF wants to re-endorse Mugabe ahead of the elections.
After the 2014 elective congress, which resulted in the political demise of former vice-president Joice Mujuru, the party’s next elective congress was scheduled for 2019.
The extraordinary congress proposed by the commissariat department is expected to renew Mugabe’s mandate as the party’s first secretary as factional fights reach fever pitch.
According to a source privy to the discussions, the G40 faction wants to use the congress to push Mugabe to appoint a new politburo and reconstitute the central committee which can scuttle Mnangagwa’s aspiration to succeed the president.
However, sources said Mugabe, after realising that the proposal had the support of only three provinces, requested that Provincial Coordinating Committee (PCC) meetings start convening this week to discuss the issue.
According to the Zanu PF constitution, an extraordinary congress “may be convened whenever it is deemed necessary”.
It can be convened at the instance of the majority of the members of the central committee, the president and first secretary, not less than one-third of members of the central committee and by at least five provincial executive councils.
After receiving a request for an extraordinary congress, the president is expected to forward the request to the party’s secretary for administration, who in turn should give at least six weeks’ notice prior to convening the extraordinary congress.
The special congress deliberates only on matters for which it has been specifically convened and three quarters of members shall form a quorum of the session.