THE faction-riddled Zanu PF yesterday all but bolstered President Robert Mugabe’s grip on the party after endorsing constitutional amendments bestowing him with powers to handpick his deputies, national chairperson and members of the politburo.
Zanu PF’s decision making body, the politburo, last night endorsed the constitutional amendments which may usher in a new Zanu PF leadership at the forthcoming crucial December congress.
Politburo insiders said a cocktail of amendments which are meant to resolve the succession debacle were tabled last night and are awaiting ratification by the powerful Central Committee next week.
“We deliberated on the amendments which empower President Robert Mugabe to appoint his two vice presidents, national chairperson as well as the secretary for administration in the party,” said a politburo member.
“Other amendments include increasing the number of members of the central committee from 245 to 300,” the source said.
Another politburo member aligned to the Zanu PF secretary for legal affairs, Emmerson Mnangagwa who has been locked in a bitter wrangle with the beleaguered vice president Joice Mujuru in the race to succeed Mugabe, said the amendments mean Mnangagwa is a shoe in, in his bid to rule Zimbabwe.
“It is now clear that Mugabe will appoint his deputies and Mnangagwa is the only favourite to be appointed,” he said.
The amendments, sources in the party said, were meant to create one centre and source of power, the president, to tame factionalism, amid allegations that Mujuru wanted to topple and replace Mugabe.
Currently, two vice-presidents and the national chairperson are elected at congress after every five years.
However party officials aligned to the Mujuru faction said the amendments were crafted to deal with Mujuru who is being accused of trying to overthrow Mugabe.
“The amendments are illegal and they are a way of dealing with Mujuru who was an obvious successor to Mugabe,” a Zanu PF senior official said.
“The elective congress has been dealt a massive blow and reduced to an assembly where people will gather to hero-worship Mugabe without meaningful resolutions being proposed,” the official added.
Suspended party spokesperson Rugare Gumbo said the congress will be run by illegal structures because all the suspended chairpersons have not yet been replaced by elected individuals.
“Interim chairpersons cannot run a congress. That is illegal and even all those suspensions are illegal because there are unconstitutional,” Gumbo said.
“It is subversion of the will of the people who voted those chairpersons into those positions. The suspensions remain illegal and a clear manipulation of the party structures,” he said