PRESIDENT Mugabe has acceded to convening a special Zanu-PF Congress this December and the gathering will not be used to fire his lieutenants, a senior party official has said.
The Congress will, instead, rally all party structures around the imperative of winning the 2018 harmonised elections and championing national priorities.
A logistics committee of the ruling party will meet in Harare tomorrow to take stock of preparations after which the Central Committee will hold a special session to discuss the Congress agenda.
Zanu-PF National Secretary for Administration Dr Ignatius Chombo told our Harare Bureau yesterday that contrary to claims published by the private media that the Congress would be used to dismiss Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa, President Mugabe had made it clear that focus should be on polls.
An Extraordinary Congress, according to Section 30 of Zanu-PF’s constitution, can only deliberate on the issues for which it has been specifically convened and other matters cannot be smuggled onto the agenda.
Only a majority of the Central Committee, a minimum of five of the party’s 10 provincial executive committees, or the President in concurrence with at least a third of the Central Committee, can call for an Extraordinary Congress and initiate its agenda, and not any other structures of individuals.
Further, President Mugabe — who is Zanu-PF’s First Secretary — does not need a Congress to reconfigure the make-up of his Presidium or the Politburo.
Said Dr Chombo: “The President has agreed with what the provinces have said (regarding the convening of an Extraordinary Congress). He has given us the go-ahead to start the official processes that are procedural and necessary to have the Congress.
“As of now, the most important matters that have come out from the provinces are that the Congress is being held with a view to preparing the party for next year’s harmonised elections.
“So, all the resolutions passed by the provinces will be presented as they are, and from there, the Central Committee will decide what matters should be put on the agenda.
“Only those resolutions which the Central Committee adopts will become the agenda of the Congress, while those issues that are not deemed important will be left out.”
Dr Chombo said Congress will review biometric voter registration, the 10-Point Plan for Economic Growth, the State Constitution and national policies.
“So, we are going to Congress to put into perspective all those matters. This is not a new thing; we had elections in 2002 after coming from an Extraordinary Congress because it was a year before elections.
“Our party calendar and Government calendar do not tally, so in the year that they do not synchronise, we may decide to have an Extraordinary Congress to make sure that we are prepared.
“This is not new. It will not look at individual issues; we focus on national party issues. The removal of people from certain positions, just like the Cabinet reshuffle, the President can do it anytime. So, let’s not be arrogant and suggest for him.
“The Constitution provides for the President as the one centre of power. He can use his discretion and does not need Congress. I cannot run the party based on wishes of individuals. I run the party on the dictates of the party constitution.”
Dr Chombo said the party sub-committee tasked with organising the 2017 Annual National People’s Conference would now focus on Congress preparations.
The sub-committee will work with Politburo members Cdes Patrick Chinamasa (Documentation), Obert Mpofu (Finance), Saviour Kasukuwere (Organisation), Kembo Mohadi (Security and Accreditation), Simon Khaya Moyo (Information and Publicity), Oppah Muchinguri (Transport), Cleveria Chizema (Health), Joram Gumbo (Entertainment) and Priscah Mupfumira (Environment).
“We are not going to alter the organising committee which had been put in place for the Conference. In that regard, we are meeting on Monday with the sub-committees so that we start the planning process.
“The purpose of the meeting on Monday will be for the various sub-committees to give an update on their preparations, given that the programme has been upgraded from a conference to a congress. So, all the 10 sub-committees will give an update to me, in my capacity as chair of the organising committee.”
Dr Chombo said the Congress will host 10 000 delegates on a US$6 million budget.