EDITORIAL COMMENT: Adhere to party constitution in handling disciplinary cases

Emmerson Mnangagwa

Emmerson Mnangagwa

PROVINCIAL structures of the ruling Zanu-PF party should heed a call made by the national leadership to abide by the organisation’s constitution in handling cases of officials recommended for censure for colluding with axed Vice President Mr Emmerson Mnangagwa. There are fears that certain provinces will use the opportunity presented by the expulsion of the former VP to settle scores with their opponents within the party by labelling them allies of Mr Mnangagwa.

Already, there are ructions from some provincial structures that the process of disciplining officials could be abused by certain quarters with a bone to chew with their colleagues. The danger with such a scenario is that the party could embark on a wholesale purge of innocent people, leaving it weak, divided and severely compromised ahead of crucial elections next year.

In this regard, we call for soberness in dealing with cases of indiscipline and for accused cadres to get a fair hearing so that they are able to defend themselves. Senior party officials have already sounded warning bells after detecting anomalies in the manner some names have been listed among those recommended for censure.

At the weekend, Zanu-PF secretary for administration, Dr Ignatius Chombo, warned party members against abusing the ongoing attempts to flush out members accused of working with Mr Mnangagwa to settle personal scores or for political expediency. He called for sober minds and adherence to party procedure in all cases as he nullified suspensions and expulsions in Mashonaland West province. Party secretary for Information and Publicity Cde Simon Khaya Moyo reiterated the same message in a statement issued on Monday in which he said in the case of members of superior organs like the Central Committee or Politburo, the provinces should prepare charge sheets to be submitted to Dr Chombo for onward transmission to the National Disciplinary Committee.

Zanu-PF Provincial Co-ordinating Committees have identified more than 100 party officials, including some bigwigs, accused of supporting the former VP’s “successionist” bid and recommended their suspension or expulsion.

In his statement, Cde Khaya Moyo said: “The Politburo sitting at its 313th Ordinary Session at the Party Headquarters on the 8th November 2017, resolved that all disciplinary cases preferred against some party members should be dealt with in terms of laid down procedures as set out in the party constitution.

“In the case of provinces and other subordinate structures, disciplinary processes should be conducted in terms of Article 10 Section 77 to 82 as read with Section 69 of the Constitution.” The sections provide a framework in the setting up of disciplinary committees in the party’s branch, district and provincial levels and stages to be followed in the process.

Some of the bigwigs fingered include Zanu-PF secretary for legal affairs, Cde Patrick Chinamasa, who chairs the party’s NDC, ministers Cdes Kembo Mohadi, Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri, Christopher Mushohwe, and Josiah Hungwe whose home provinces want them disciplined.

“In the case of disciplinary processes against members of superior organs, respective provinces should prefer charges and submit their recommendations to the secretary for administration for onward transmission to the National Disciplinary Committee for further due process,” said Cde Khaya Moyo.

We welcome the clarification by the party national leadership on the procedures to be followed when dealing with cases of indiscipline and hope the provinces will adhere to them religiously so that the affected cadres get a fair hearing. This is important because the process to cleanse the party of undesirable elements should not be hijacked by people bent on settling personal scores or for political expediency.

Each case should be dealt with on its own merits with identified accused officials getting an opportunity to defend themselves at the various levels of the disciplinary process which should be fair and not retributive. At the end of the day, the party should emerge stronger and united from the current ructions which could have a bearing on its performance in the forthcoming polls.

The current wave of suspensions or expulsions should therefore be closely monitored so that due process is followed and procedures are not abused to settle grudges. By seeking to score cheap political points against each other, some officials might inadvertently score an own goal against the party, in the process handing the advantage to the opposition.