Zanu PF politburo meets to avert implosion

HARARE - The Zanu PF politburo meets today to deal with the contentious issue of candidate selection for primary elections ahead of the eagerly-awaited harmonised polls, amid revelations that the party’s elections commission failed to contain members’ antagonism.

The ruling party is currently burning with senior party officials battling to calm down angry members who are fuming over the conduct of the Zanu PF regional leadership allegedly favouring their cronies in the vetting of CVs to contest the May 5 primaries.

On the other hand, Zanu provincial chairpersons also accuse the party’s political commissar, Engelbert Rugeje, who also heads the electoral commission that was established to manage internal polls ahead of general elections set for not later than this August.

Zanu PF insiders told the Daily News that the politburo will deliberate on Rugeje’s report after he reportedly admitted failure to stop the acrimony obtaining in the party and that has led him to wash his hands on the issue.

This comes barely two weeks after another politburo meeting failed to deal with the thorny issue and ordered that the process of receiving CVs be completed first even with the challenges.

While Rugeje was not taking calls when he was contacted for comment, Simon Khaya Moyo, the ruling party’s spokesperson said; “I have not yet seen the agenda of the politburo”.

However, a politburo member who requested anonymity said it was expected that Rugeje will update the meeting on the challenges he faced, especially in Masvingo province, where the leadership has allegedly “resisted his military dictatorship”.

“We gather that the PC (political commissar) has not found it easy to manage the people in various provinces who are resisting any attempts to block them or impose leaders on them because they have a feeling that democracy must now prevail in Zanu PF in the new dispensation where there no more bigwigs,” he said.

Rugeje has reportedly been swamped by letters of complaints agitating for the reversal of some of the lists of names which were submitted to provincial co-coordinating committees (PCC).

“These issues could not have been solved by the elections directorate because there is a feeling also that Rugeje is compromised and wants to sideline comrades who have been in the trenches and fighting the G40.

“The people in the provinces know who they want to lead them so if the politburo fails to take note of that and address the complaints raised, then we will go into the elections divided and that is not healthy”.

While a lot of flak had initially been directed at the provincial chairpersons of Mashonaland Central, Mashonaland West and Mashonaland  East — who were all accused of bending party rules in the interest of their cronies — things got quite nasty in Masvingo  last week where Rugeje was apparently given a torrid time by the province’s bigwigs.

Rugeje was even said to have angrily stormed out of a Masvingo PCC meeting after he allegedly tried to impose two Cabinet ministers —  Winston Chitando and Amon Murwira — on the provincial executive committee.

He was also accused of attempting to force the province to accept the two as the party’s unopposed candidates for Gutu Central and Gutu North National Assembly constituencies, apparently doing so with the support of Masvingo Provincial Affairs minister Josiah Hungwe.

Insiders also told the Daily News that Rugeje’s attempts had faced strong resistance from senior party members — including Lovemore Matuke, Paul Mangwana, Clemence Makwarimba and provincial chairperson Ezra Chadzamira.

The well-placed sources said Rugeje had started the ruckus by suggesting that he had allegedly been sent by President Emmerson Mnangagwa to ask the province to co-opt Chitando and Murwira into the province’s structures.

This, the sources said, backfired spectacularly after he was told “in no uncertain terms that there were no vacancies for the two in the provincial executive committee since every position was occupied”.

When it was clear that this plan was not going to succeed, Rugeje reportedly then asked the PCC to reserve two legislative seats for them — and that is when “all hell broke loose”.

At that point, Chadzamira is said to have sprung to his feet and told him bluntly that “there was no way the province would side-line some of its members who fought fiercely against former president Robert Mugabe and the defeated Generation 40 (G40) faction”.

The rebuke is said to have been met with “thunderous applause” from the rest of the PCC members, who wildly endorsed it.

Comments (1)

in every house, if elders fail to groom the youths to take over when they grow old or die, the results are what is happenning in zanu. the old guard is not prepared to hand over the button & the now grown-up youths are agitated & restless thence the commotion & squabling. they are very swift to forget that the november 2017 events are a culmination of succession poorly managed or not managed at all! d ont know whether its fogertfullness of its just failure to learn! thankfully in all this, its the ordinary men & women who bear the brunt.

SaManyika Chaiye - 20 April 2018

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