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Zanu PF in special congress dilemma


PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe is reportedly in a dilemma over how to handle demands from warring factions heckling over his succession for an extraordinary congress ahead of general elections set for next year.


Mugabe has already been confirmed as Zanu PF’s candidate for the presidential poll next year, but party insiders claim the G40 faction, that includes his wife Grace, national commissar Saviour Kasukuwere, Vice-President Phelekezela Mphoko, secretary for administration Ignatius Chombo and Higher Education minister Jonathan Moyo, want an extraordinary congress to push out beleaguered Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

At last week’s politburo meeting, high-level sources said Mugabe ordered Chombo to read out rules governing Zanu PF internal processes.

“Out of nowhere, the President ordered Chombo to read rules governing congress as well as those relating to national conferences. He then asked all politburo members to go and read as well as understand these rules without elaborating why this was so,” NewsDay heard.

Zanu PF spokesperson Simon Khaya Moyo would not be drawn into divulging whether the issue came up at the indaba.

“I do not remember. In any case it would not be new. It’s not a new thing because it is expected of all party leaders that they are conversant with the party’s constitution and all its rules. If any of those in the leadership of the party do not know the Zanu PF constitution then they have no business in the party. They should leave,” Khaya Moyo said.

Asked if there was a plan for an extraordinary congress, Khaya Moyo claimed: “I have no idea.”
Chombo did not respond to questions sent to him on Monday.

Security sources told NewsDay that Chombo also accidentally dropped a file that contained papers detailing a plan for an extraordinary congress.

“That there is a plan for an extraordinary congress is no longer a secret. The plan is underway, but it seems those behind it wanted to sneak it into the politburo last week before the President pulled the rug from under their feet,” another source said.

A fresh elective congress before the general elections next year would mean that all positions in Zanu PF are up for grabs, including the presidency.

“Effectively what G40 is asking for is to have the President challenged. He has been confirmed as leader, but because they are so desperate to have him appoint a successor or, better still, get rid of Mnangagwa, they are inadvertently pushing for the removal of the President. The appointment of a successor means the President must leave office and it is the same as calling for a congress,” insiders said.

Last month, Grace demanded that Mugabe names his preferred candidate, “then we will support that person”. But the Zanu PF leader has stuck to his guns, arguing it would be unconstitutional to appoint one.

“The (Zanu PF) constitution says our leader is chosen at congress. I might have my candidate, but that person must contest for the position with other candidates at congress. I am a lawyer and I follow the law. I follow the rules very strictly. I will not leave my wife either. That is done by Francophone countries. In Zanu PF, we do not do that. We have a good history and we must follow it,” Mugabe told supporters in Bindura on Saturday.

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