ZANU PF rocked by mutiny over ‘running mates’ clause

HARARE – The embattled former ruling party Zanu PF says the issue raised in the draft constitution of whether vice-presidents, who ultimately become running mates for the presidential candidate should be appointed or elected, must be left in the hands of running presidential candidates.

The party’s Secretary for Information and Publicity, Rugare Gumbo said his party’s leadership prefers a situation where the running presidential candidate appoints vice presidents who in turn become the running mates in general elections.

“The issue was raised and most members of the Politburo preferred appointment of vice presidents rather than their election,” said Gumbo.

Zanu PF says the issue of whether vice presidents may be appointed or elected was never raised during the views gathering exercise and only surfaced at the COPAC Management Committee, thus questions will be asked on the motives behind the clause.

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Last Friday ZANU PF plunged further into political turmoil as a faction led by Defence Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa bluntly told the politburo they will not accept another attempt by the party to block him from succeeding Robert Mugabe.

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In a marathon ‘no holds barred’ meeting, Mnangagwa’s camp accused the party of enacting laws to prevent the ZANU PF strongman from taking over the party leadership.

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In 2009, just as it seemed Mnangagwa had garnered enough support to win the Vice-Presidency of the party, a ZANU PF congress resolution stated that one of the party’s two deputy presidents had to be a woman. This cleared the way for Joice Mujuru to be elected to that post.

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Two months ago the politburo disbanded the District Coordinating Committees, after Mnangagwa’s camp had captured the majority of the countrywide structures. The politburo said he had used his wealth to buy votes but Mnangagwa’s faction saw this as a plot to block him from using the structures to have a run at the Presidency.

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During Friday’s politburo meeting Mnangagwa’s faction said they were adamant that the clause in the draft constitution that empowers the party leader to choose his running mates will have to be amended, or deleted altogether during the second all stakeholders’ conference.

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The Midlands province, which is the Defence Minister’s stronghold, is strongly against this clause and refers to it as the ‘Mnangagwa clause’ saying it eliminates him from succeeding Mugabe.

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While ZANU PF has tried to brush off the revolt against Mugabe as ‘a storm in a teacup’ analysts told us the situation was very serious, as evidenced by the party’s plan to hold three consecutive politburo meetings in 7 days.

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‘They met last week Wednesday at which they failed to reach consensus. They met again on Friday for 12 hours and failed to reach an agreement and they resolved to meet again this Wednesday where they hope to finalise discussion on the draft constitution and running mates clause. This tells us it hasn’t been easy, it’s been quite a challenge for Mugabe and his ZANU PF party,’ the source added. – Plus SW Radio