Discord in Zanu PF over elections

Discord in Zanu PF over when Zimbabwe would hold elections has been exposed amid reports the former ruling party was determined to defy the Sadc-facilitated roadmap to free and fair polls.

Daggers have also been drawn against Patrick Chinamasa, the party’s chief negotiator in the Sadc-facilitated talks, for saying elections were doubtful this year if the roadmap was followed amid indications the Zanu PF politburo would meet this week to deliberate on the issue.

Yesterday, Zanu PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo said the party would not recognise the roadmap and comments by Chinamasa were individual remarks that the party would not be bound by.

Gumbo said: “The party position is very clear. I don’t know how many times I should repeat this. Elections are on this year and reforms are not fundamental if people want elections. The Mutare congress last year made it clear that elections will be held this year. The politburo also made it clear and the President also made it clear.”

On Chinamasa’s remarks, Gumbo said: “Those are his statements as an individual negotiator and that does not reflect the position of the party. The MDC-T is afraid of elections saying there will be violence but it’s clear it is the most violent party in the country.”

Hardliners in the former ruling party have been calling for elections this year with or without reforms but the intervention of Sadc had poured cold water on that. Zanu PF politburo member Jonathan Moyo made a scathing attack on Chinamasa yesterday describing his comments in the State-owned media as “untenable”.

Moyo’s comments, according to Zanu PF insiders, were a reflection of deep-seated factionalism in the party.

Chinamasa said: “It is my own opinion that it is not possible to hold elections this year. We need to start talking about elections next year or 2013 assuming that the referendum is completed in September as we have been advised by Copac.”

But Moyo dismissed Chinamasa saying: “It is now clear in the national interest that the next harmonised general election must be held this year in 2011, failure of which it should be held in 2016 and not at any other time in between. The current SADC focus on the so-called election roadmap which (Prime Minister) Morgan Tsvangirai takes to mean elections in 2012 or even in 2013 as understandably suggested by (Cde Patrick) Chinamasa is untenable not least because these suppositions are based on the fallacy that the 2008 election was disputed when the fact is that it was inconclusive.”

Moyo also took a swipe at Sadc in what analysts said would work against Zanu PF at the oncoming Sadc meeting in Namibia.

“This might be hard to swallow for some simple minds out there but, as sure as the sun will shine tomorrow and from a well-considered academic point of view supported by published scholarly research and the historical record, Sadc needs Zimbabwe under Zanu PF than Zimbabwe under Zanu PF needs Sadc.”

Zanu PF, according to sources, is preoccupied with intense jostling for the position of President if President Robert Mugabe (87) decides not to stand.
Tsvangirai told delegates at the MDC-T congress last week that elections were only possible next year. The MDC-T said recently a lot needed to be done before elections could be held and this included “chlorinating” the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, a body which Tsvangirai said was full of members of the spy agency, the CIO.

Observers fear elections could take the country back to the dark days of the pre-2008 election runoff that saw hundreds of MDC-T supporters murdered and a lot more displaced.

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