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ZANU PF is headed for renewed factional turbulence ahead of a string of fresh internal elections starting next month, NewZimbabwe.com can report.
The ruling party, still smarting from highly contentious provincial polls held late last month, is gearing towards primary elections to select candidates that will represent the party in the upcoming March 26 National Assembly by-elections.
Thereafter, the party will immediately be involved in crunch national youth and women’s league elections – to be held at separate congresses – before the mother of all political battles explodes in central committee elections.
The central committee is Zanu PF’s principal policy organ, with power to change the constitution and recall or change leadership, according to the party’s constitution.
This explains why elections into it have always been thunderous and bloody, with the top officials keep to plant surrogates in the all-important organ.
The four sets of elections are expected to be stormy, coming at a time when factionalism bedevilling the party has exploded into the public domain in a major way.
Sources in Zanu PF said preparations are well underway as the provinces are strategically positioning their candidates for, principally, the central committee elections.
According to the Zanu PF constitution, the central committee is the principal organ of the party and consists of 245 members drawn from the party’s 10 provinces. It acts on behalf of congress when it is not in session and among other things implements all policies, resolutions, directives, decisions and programmes enunciated by congress.
The Youth League provides 17 members to the central committee with the Women’s League contributing the same number, which explains the keen interest by the party’s top brass in those organs.
The establishment of a third organ comprising of war veterans, war collaborators and those detained during the liberation struggle has been put on ice after it became a centre for intense factional jockeying even in its infancy.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa appoints 10 members while 50 are drawn from the women’s quarter. The remaining members are elected from the provinces in a way and manner that each province shall have a proportionate quota or number, having regard to the census population figures in the province.
Top Zanu PF sources say chaotic scenes are looming ahead of the elections as the same problems were experienced during late last year’s provincial elections.
“There are bound to be problems because no concrete measures were taken after the chaotic provincial elections last year that were marred by allegations of vote-buying, violence, rigging and intimidation, to prevent similar incidents,” a Zanu PF politburo member said.
“Unless and until the politburo provides solutions to such problems, internal elections in the party will be haunted by chaos.”
Two rival camps reportedly led by Mnangagwa and his highly ambitious deputy, Constantino Chiwenga, were engaged in a bruising fight for the control of provincial executives and are again set to battle it out in the upcoming polls which could be crucial in defining the subsequent political trajectory.
In an interview with NewZimbabwe.com on Friday, Zanu PF national political commissar Mike Bimha said the party was preparing itself for the impending tumult.
“As you are aware, we just finished the elections for provincial chairpersons and this weekend, we are finalising the rest of the positions to ensure that new provincial executives commissioned,” Bimha said in an interview broadcast on NewZim TV accessible on: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W1vXDouHHJg
“Our next target is the upcoming by-elections. Now that we know the dates (when they will be held), we are planning for them. Once we are through with them, we will be having our elections for the youth league, our elections for the women’s league and thereafter we can go for central committee elections,” he said.
Bimha also said there was nothing amiss about events that characterised the provincial elections as “that has always been the case”.