Zanu PF to endorse Mugabe's re-election bid
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF party will be meeting from Wednesday for its annual conference, which is expected to endorse the veteran ruler’s bid to stand for another term next year.
The 86 year-old ruler appears to have crushed dissent and his succession is one subject that will not be discussed at the three-day conference.
Zanu PF is also expected to give the nod to President Mugabe’s unpopular push for fresh elections mid next year.
“The conference is not about the president,” said Mr Simon Khaya-Moyo, the Zanu PF chairperson.
“We had our congress last year and we elected the president of the party who automatically becomes the candidate in the next elections.”
Legislators from the three parties in Zimbabwe’s fragile unity government say they do not want early elections but analysts say Zanu PF MPs cannot tell Mr Mugabe openly about their objections.
Zanu PF deals ruthlessly with rebels and opposition to the president’s policies from within is rare.
Opposition leader Dr Simba Makoni who was pushed out of Zanu PF when he challenged Mr Mugabe in the 2008 presidential elections said he did not expect much from the annual gathering.
“I don’t believe this conference will be different from the previous Zanu PF meetings,” Dr Makoni said.
“I don’t see Mugabe listening to anyone and his position is that he knows everything and he will not go back on his position to have elections.”
Mr Moyo said the conference would tackle another controversial issue of transferring majority shareholding in multinational companies to locals.
The initiative viewed as another attempt to reward Mr Mugabe’s loyalists like the disastrous land reform programme is set to be the foundation for Zanu PF’s election campaign next year.
Meanwhile, Zanu PF hardliners are pushing for the arrest of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai after US cables released by the whistle blower website WikiLeaks revealed that Mr Mugabe’s rival privately backed Western sanctions against Zimbabwe.
Zanu PF senior officials have been calling on Mr Tsvangirai to resign and face possible charges of treason.
“There are only two things that could happen in any civilized democracy, for him to resign not just from government but public life altogether,” said Prof Jonathan Moyo, a Zanu PF MP and former Information minister in Mr Mugabe’s previous government.
“He must also be prosecuted for a litany of treasonous acts against the state.”
However, a spokesperson for Mr Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party said their leader was not taking the Zanu PF threats seriously.
“There are pressing issues in the country as we prepare for elections,” said MDC spokesperson, Mr Nelson Chamisa.
“We can’t allow ourselves to chase shadows and shoot at straws.
“Mr Tsvangirai wants Zimbabwe to be free and democratic and nothing can distract him from that goal.”
He said the Wikileaks claims had neither basis nor credibility.