By Richard Chidza
HARARE – President Robert Mugabe headed into Wednesday’s politburo meeting seeking to bridge growing fissures in his deeply divided Zanu PF party over succession issues and the dissolution of the party’s district coordinating committees (DCCs).
Zanu PF is expected to discuss the controversial constitutional clause requiring presidential candidates to nominate running mates and secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa’s DCC report.
The constitutional clause has reignited internal fights over Mugabe’s successor while Mutasa’s report will highlight the differences the decision to dissolve the party’s grassroots structures have caused.
Zanu PF insiders told the Daily News yesterday that Mugabe’s deputy Joice Mujuru, who has for long fancied her chances of taking over the party leadership, has already stoked the succession fires. She is reported to have told her close allies that Mugabe will nominate her as running mate if the clause is passed.
“She told her people that she will be Mugabe’s running mate so they have agreed to support the clause,” a politburo insider said adding the second running mate will have to come from the Zapu side of Zanu PF in accordance with the 1987 Unity Accord.
Party spokesperson Rugare Gumbo told the state media on Monday that most members of the politburo wanted the “running mates clause” removed.
“The issue was raised and most members of the Politburo preferred appointment of vice presidents rather than their election. This is for a simple reason that if you elect a running mate, who might be ambitious and power hungry, s/he can upset the entire operations of the system,” said Gumbo.
Supporters of Mnangagwa have been pushing the octogenarian leader to rescind the dissolution of the party’s DCCs last month. The faction, which had trounced Mujuru’s faction in the DCC election, is also demanding that the politburo, the party’s highest decision making body, be dissolved.
“People are not happy on the ground. The politburo made the decision to disband the DCCs without consultation, worse still it (politburo) had no mandate to disband but should have recommended to the Central Committee.
“In this case, the Central Committee was only called in to endorse without even discussing the merits and disadvantages of the dissolution. We have treated the people who had been elected as dirt and they are not happy so the party must find a way out of this rut,” a central committee member told the Daily News on Tuesday.
A member of the Mnangagwa faction who refused to be identified said they will make sure their demands to have the “running mates” clause removed will prevail.
“If you read Zanu PF’ history it is clear Mujuru is a junior to not only to Mnangagwa but also Rugare Gumbo or even Sidney Sekeramayi. So when it comes to succeeding Mugabe, it is a different issue altogether.
“It is not the same as being deputy president, we are talking of the real deal here, congress must elect Zanu PF’s leadership not individuals,” the insider said. Gumbo on Tuesday said Zanu PF is still seized with the draft constitution and will communicate its decision after the crucial meeting.
“Zanu PF is still seized with the issues (constitution, running mates and DCCs) you have said. The politburo will meet tomorrow (today). I have not been briefed on the agenda but what I can say is that the recommendations made will be looked at,” Gumbo said.
Political commentator Pedzisayi Ruhanya said the running mate clause presents Mugabe with a golden opportunity to solve the contentious succession issue once and for all.
“The running mates issue is the best opportunity for Mugabe to resolve this sticky situation he finds himself in. They must realise it can be done democratically by allowing members of Zanu PF or any other party to participate in the selection process,” said Ruhanya. Daily News
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