Tendai Mugabe, Harare Bureau
ZANU-PF is holding an Extraordinary Congress this month to align its elective assembly with the national elective calendar, especially as the country prepares for harmonised elections next year, Presidential Press Secretary Mr George Charamba has said.
Effectively, the party is no longer going to have another Congress in 2019.
Mr Charamba yesterday said that the alignment would inform the President, who is also the party’s First Secretary, on the team he fields for national elections.
“A good number of Zimbabweans have been asking why there is need for an Extraordinary Congress which is set for early December,” he said.
“A situation had arisen where the national election timetable would have preceded the party Congress yet in reality the Congress must come before the national elections in order to give the President a team that he fields for the national elections. We were in a situation where Congress would come after the national elections, raising the possibility that successful candidates in the national elections could be well unsuccessful at Congress or vice versa.
“So what the party has tried to do is to realign its own Congress with the national electoral calendar. What that means is there is a way in which the Extraordinary Congress is ordinary in the sense that we will not have another Congress in 2019 because if we have another Congress, we would have gone back to that distortion.
“The Congress is Extraordinary in the sense that it has been brought forward, but it’s ordinary in the sense that we will not have another one after it to make sure that we maintain that sequential relationship between the Congress and the national elections.”
The Congress is expected to endorse the recall of former President Robert Mugabe and the election of President Emmerson Mnangagwa as the First Secretary and President made by the Central Committee on November 19.
The Central Committee also nominated President Mnangagwa as the party’s presidential candidate for the 2018 harmonised elections.
President Mnangagwa has since been sworn-in as the State President.
The Congress is also expected to uphold the decision by the Central Committee to expel G40 members such as former First Lady Grace Mugabe, Mr Phelekezela Mphoko, Professor Jonathan Moyo, Mr Saviour Kasukuwere, Dr Ignatius Chombo, Dr Walter Mzembi, Mr Kudzanai Chipanga, Ms Mandi Chimene, Mrs Letina Undenge and many others.
The group was dismissed for fanning divisions and chaos in the party and threatening national security through corruption and rendering Government programmes dysfunctional.
Some G40 members such as Dr Chombo and Mr Chipanga have since appeared in court facing charges ranging from corruption to undermining the State apparatus.
The forthcoming Congress is also expected to discuss the state of the party, the economy and preparations for next year’s harmonised elections, including the manifesto for the polls.
Following the intervention by the Zimbabwe Defence Forces to pacify the situation, the ruling party is now shifting its attention to dealing with economic challenges that are affecting the generality of the Zimbabwean population.
Already, there are indications that the Zanu-PF Government intends to intensify the re-engagement process with the international community and pay more attention to the economy, which is characterised by cash shortages, declining exports and a huge debt overhang.
Meanwhile, speaking at a highly subscribed fundraising dinner for the Extraordinary Congress Zanu-PF Secretary for Finance, Dr Obert Mpofu said President Emmerson Mnangagwa has brought renewed hope across the country just a few days after assuming the highest office in the land.
Following his inauguration last Friday, President Mnangagwa has since promised a lean Cabinet and granted a three-month moratorium with which those that externalised funds and assets are expected to bring them back.
He has also sought to restore the work ethic of the country’s civil service.
“You will agree with me that within a few days in office, His Excellency the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe has ushered in renewed optimism across the various constituencies in the country.
“His focus in tackling bureaucratic practices in the public sector and corruption goes a long way to demonstrate his urgency to fix the economy, among other issues at hand,” Dr Mpofu said.
He said events in November that saw the resignation of former president Mugabe and the rise of President Mnangagwa had ushered in a new era for Zanu-PF and the country.
“What is most pleasing is the concomittant exuberance with which the people of Zimbabwe, across the political and social divide, have embraced developments, which point to better times that lie ahead,” he added.
Dr Mpofu said the Extraordinary Congress was very special given the changes that occurred in the revolutionary party.
“Given this, I am compelled to shed some light on the fundamentals upon which this fundraising dinner is being held, as well as underscore how our revolutionary party has, over the years, triumphed over numerous challenges.
“As a party, we believe in that we should have a national outlook, unity of purpose and represent the wishes of everyone. Our strength comes from the people,” he added.
He also said Zanu-PF welcomed the support it gets from captains of industry.
“This is the reason the party cherishes this collaboration with the captains of industry and commerce by way of high-level consultations with them on major policy positions, which has culminated in both the party and Government coming up with major policy shifts that favour the private sector,” he said.
Dr Mpofu said the target for this year’s fundraising was $3 million, down from the initial $8 million, adding this was necessary for successfully hosting the Congress.