THE Zanu PF politburo yesterday opened the race for primary elections, with the party’s national commissar Engelbert Rugeje expected to immediately initiate the candidate selection process in all provinces.
BY OBEY MANAYITI/KUDZAI MUCHENJEKWA/XOLISANI NCUBE
Party spokesperson Simon Khaya Moyo said Rugeje would chair the elections commission, which will set guidelines for the internal polls.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa will appoint other members of the commission.
Khaya Moyo said the guidelines would be communicated to provinces, which will initially vet candidates, while the provincial leadership would forward names of all those who succeed and those who fail to the commission.
“There shall be a Zanu PF elections commission, whose members will be appointed by the President and first secretary for their skill, experience or competence and for their integrity, probity, loyalty and commitment to the party, this is per provision of the constitution,” he said.
“There will be regulation on how the commission will regulate the primary elections. The national political commissar, who is going to chair the election commission, will communicate detailing what qualifications are needed, but we don’t want anybody to be blocked.”
The commission will accept grievances from party members, who will feel aggrieved with the initial process.
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Khaya Moyo also disclosed that the party chairperson Oppah Muchinguri presented a report on the party’s manifesto and regalia.
“The national chairperson of the party, Cde Oppah Muchinguri, presented to the politburo a comprehensive report on the regalia, as well as the party manifesto which the politburo debated on and greatly appreciated,” he said.
Khaya Moyo said the party was advising its members to desist from any violent conduct during and after the elections.
He also said Mnangagwa would be embarking on whirlwind provincial tours to drum up support for the party, with his first rally scheduled for Matabeleland North province tomorrow.
This came as Zanu PF has finalised its election manifesto ahead of the 2018 polls, with a team of experts drawn from the military, economists and Office of the President and Cabinet having done its work and today, it will be tabled at the party’s politburo meeting.
Rugeje confirmed to NewsDay on Tuesday that the election-promise document was ready for adoption by the politburo, which sat yesterday.
“I am not going to discuss its contents or thrust, but I can confirm that the technical team has finished with the document and we now await the politburo, which is sitting tomorrow (yesterday) for adoption. If it is adopted, we then send for printing so that it becomes a public document,” Rugeje said.
The draft document, according to party insiders, was tabled at the last politburo meeting and received the thumbs-up and now waits “fine-tuning” by experts before it comes back for final approval.
Zanu PF sources said key on the agenda would be the creation of an over $20 billion economy by 2020 based on investment opportunities that have emerged since November 2017, when President Emmerson Mnangagwa took over from his predecessor Robert Mugabe.
“Various infrastructural projects that have been initiated since November 2017 will be key targets in the manifesto, which prioritises job creation, attraction of foreign direct investment as well as social services such as increase in social safety nets for vulnerable groups,” a source said.
In the 2013 election manifesto, Zanu PF had promised to create 2,2 million jobs and a trillion-dollar economy, but, instead, thousands of workers were made jobless as companies shut down.
Also, Zanu PF, according to sources was targeting to woo the youths — mostly in tertiary institutions — by promising them increased allowances while on industrial attachment from the Zimbabwe Manpower Development Fund, even to those in universities who previously were not beneficiaries.
“The provision of cheap academic loans to tertiary students, as well as job creation will be topical in the manifesto,” the source said.
The 2018 election comes as the economy has been underperforming in the last five years and Zanu PF, insiders said, acknowledges that corruption, poor human resources management and a bloated government were key drivers.