FACTIONALISM in Zanu PF took centre stage during the Copac All-Stakeholders’ Conference this week with rivals, who are reportedly battling to succeed President Robert Mugabe, clashing on the “running mate clause”.Report by Everson Mushava
One faction believes it was crafted to give Vice-President Joice Mujuru an edge over Defence minister Emmerson Mnangagwa, widely believed to be eyeing the presidency as well.
Mujuru’s critics believe the clause was “sneaked” into the draft constitution by the party’s Copac co-chairperson Munyaradzi Paul Mangwana to give her an upper hand in the succession battle.
Intense infighting, sources said, disrupted the flow of Zanu PF positions in different thematic committees due to the succession agenda.
A source (name supplied) who was part of the proceedings told NewsDay the Copac process was being used to settle the party’s succession issue.
One war veteran openly clashed with a senior female Zanu PF official at the conference.
“The war veteran (name supplied) told her (name supplied) that the draft constitution had been made to settle the succession debate in favour of Mujuru, not to articulate the party’s founding values and principals,” said the source.
The source added that the divisions brought by the Copac process was one of the reasons why Mugabe decided to have the final say as Zanu PF principal on contentious issues in the Copac draft.
Mugabe on Monday declared that the destiny of the process lied with him and other principals in the GPA. Zanu PF also opposed a number of electoral reforms captured in the Electoral Amendment Act in a bid to regain their party’s upper hand they alleged had been emasculated by some clauses in the Act.
Among the issues they opposed were the announcement of the election results within five days, preferring the clause to read “as soon as possible”.
Zanu PF was also uncomfortable with the setting up of an electoral court to curb violence, the mechanism put in place to avoid rigging, among other critical issues. Impeccable sources from all the parties who attended the conference said in the thematic committee meetings, Zanu PF delegates seemed uncomfortable with the provisions of the Electoral Amendment Act.
NewsDay is also reliably informed party delegates reviewing a chapter on elections were opposed to a provision giving “fair access” to public media by all political parties, arguing that the provision gave the opposition parties an unfair advantage when it comes to the private media, which the former sole ruling party alleges to be pro-MDC parties.
The sources said Zanu PF delegates wanted to maintain firm control of the public media.