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Zanu-PF heads for special December Extraordinary Congress

by Staff reporter
15 Oct 2017 at 12:19hrs | Views
ZANU-PF is one vote shy of an Extraordinary National People's Congress in December after four provinces yesterday said they wanted the special indaba.

The other six provinces will hold their executive council meetings today to determine whether the ruling party should convene an Extraordinary Congress or a scheduled Annual National People's Conference. Section 26 of Zanu-PF's constitution provides for the special indaba if five or more of the party's PECs request one. Congresses are ordinarily convened every five years and the next one is due in 2019.

While calling for an Extraordinary Congress yesterday, Mashonaland West, Midlands, Bulawayo and Matabeleland South affirmed their First Secretary, President Mugabe, as the ruling party's candidate in next year's Presidential election. This therefore dismissed private media claims that plans for the meeting were geared towards effecting a palace coup.

Section 30 of Zanu-PF's constitution says an "Extraordinary Session of Congress shall deliberate only on those matters for which it has been specifically convened". This means other issues cannot be smuggled in once an Extraordinary Congress is called.

In an interview with our Harare Bureau yesterday, Zanu-PF National Secretary for Administration Dr Ignatius Chombo said, "In the last three months we have been approached as a party by members from various quarters wondering if we should hold the Extraordinary Congress to prepare for next year's harmonised national elections.

"After noting that the requests were numerous, I presented to Politburo this information and the Politburo, in its wisdom, decided that it is not the duty of the Politburo to decide on that but that this should come from the provinces . . . Given the Politburo resolution, I then invited to Harare all provincial chairpersons and provincial political commissars from the 10 provinces and I briefed them on the resolution. So we instructed them to go to their provinces and meet as provincial executives to deliberate on the matter and revert back to me on Tuesday with their decision stating whether or not they want the special Congress."

He went on, "When an Extraordinary Session of Congress is held, it is held in the nation's capital, in Harare; we don't hold Congresses outside of the capital. This means that if this decision succeeds then we will be going to Gwanda (for the Conference) at the end of 2018."
Dr Chombo dismissed claims that the Extraordinary Congress was targeted at removing certain people from their party positions.

"We are simply going to deliberate on matters that relate to the election," he said.

Questioned on the issues that led to the calls for a Congress, Dr Chombo said: "On account that the last Congress, which ushered us into this session, was held in 2014, a lot has happened in the party. A lot of people were removed due to their alliances with (former Vice-President Joice) Mujuru and her cabal. But critically, next year's election will be the first time that we will be using a new voters' roll, which is being worked out using the biometric voter registration system – a totally new concept, which we did not have in the past.

"And it also means the old voters roll has been destroyed and is no longer valid, so the whole country has to register anew. This coming year voters rolls will be polling station-based and these are all new development. So, a lot of people were of the opinion that we need an Extraordinary Congress to look at all these developments and tidy up so that come 2018, we are all in the know as to what is going to happen and what the problems we could face are. But also the constitution has also changed and some people who were ineligible to vote in the past are now eligible to vote because they were born from parents one of whom was non- Zimbabwean. Now, the (Republic) Constitution has a provision stating that all those people must be allowed to vote. So, all this has created a situation where others felt it would be better to have an Extraordinary Session of Congress to deliberate on these matters."

At the Mashonaland West PEC, officials endorsed the Extraordinary Congress and affirmed President Mugabe as the party's 2018 Presidential candidate. Dr Chombo said the Mashonaland West Provincial Coordinating Committee which met after the PEC, had also endorsed the two resolutions.

In Midlands, party provincial chair Engineer Daniel Mckenzie Ncube said they wanted an Extraordinary Congress to discuss "biometric voter registration and the polling station-based voters rolls, and reaffirming President Mugabe's candidature for the 2018 harmonised elections".
He added: "As a province we do not have other issues outside that (to be) discussed."

In Bulawayo, the province endorsed the proposal for the party to hold an Extraordinary Congress and reaffirmed its initial resolution to back President Mugabe as the party's sole candidate for the 2018 harmonised elections. This was after provincial chairperson Dennis Ndlovu had earlier announced that the executive committee had resolved to support the proposal and tabled the resolution before the PCC for debate. Pumula legislator, Godfrey Malaba proposed that the executive committee's resolution be upheld.

"As provided for by section 26 1(c) of our Constitution, us as Bulawayo Province call upon President Mugabe to call for an Extraordinary Congress to assist the party to realign itself and allow for self-fumigation," he said.

Ndlovu, reiterated the province's resolution to support President Mugabe's candidature in next year's plebiscite.

"Let me quickly reaffirm our position as a province. Our candidate for the 2018 election is President Mugabe and we shall stand by that resolution, we won't be moved," he said.

Speaking at the same meeting, Minister of State for Bulawayo Provincial Affairs Nomthandazo Sandi Moyo said the Extraordinary Congress will allow the party to self introspect and deal with challenges that threaten unity.

"There are a lot of things that have happened, lies that have been told, threatening the stability of the party. The Extraordinary Congress will give us a chance as a party to deal with problems and ensure that we go for elections as a united block," she said.

In Matabeleland South, the party provincial executive also endorsed the proposal to hold an Extraordinary Congress. The province which was supposed to host the party conference this year, will host the event next year in the event the Extraordinary Congress bid succeeds. Although the media was barred from the PCC meeting a party official said the province has unanimously endorsed the decision to hold the Extraordinary Congress.

"The provincial executive had been summoned to Harare by the party leadership. That's where they were told about the party's decision to deliberate on the Extraordinary Congress. The chairman (Rabelani Choene) said the conference in Gwanda has been cancelled as there's an Extra ordinary Congress. He, however, said the leadership has given the province the opportunity to hold it next year;" said the source.

Zanu-PF Matabeleland North provincial chair Richard Moyo said: "We are meeting (today), both the provincial executive council and provincial co-ordinating committee. Just like other provinces, the issue to do with the Extraordinary Congress will be part of the agenda."

In Harare, party provincial secretary for information and publicity Abicia Ushewokunze said the PEC would meet today.

" … all I can say for now is that we will be focusing mainly on voter registration and special congress. I cannot answer prematurely but what I can tell you is that President Mugabe is our sole candidate for 2018 regardless, and that won't change today, tomorrow and never will it change. We stand by our resolution at the last Conference. He remains our sole candidate till kingdom come."

Zanu-PF Masvingo provincial chair Ezra Chadzamira said their PEC and PCC would meet today.

"The PEC will first meet at Victoria Primary School and make recommendations that will be tabled before the PCC for endorsement," he said.

In Manicaland, party provincial chair Dr Samuel Undenge said: "We are holding our PEC and PCC (today). The PEC will start first followed by PPC.

Our agenda will be centred on voter registration and the issue of a Special Congress."

Zanu-PF Mashonaland East PCC member Simbaneuta Mudarikwa said, "We have been invited for the meetings tomorrow and I am going to attend."

Source - sundaynews