THE 16th Zanu-PF Annual National People’s Conference is not elective, and the Women’s League will not push to oust any of the two Vice-Presidents, senior party officials have said.
Ruling party Secretary for Administration Dr Ignatius Chombo told The Sunday Mail that the indaba in December would focus on strengthening Zanu-PF and crafting solutions to Zimbabwe’s economic challenges.
Deputy Secretary for Women’s Affairs Cde Nomthandazo Eunice Moyo weighed in, reaffirming Women’s League Secretary First Lady Amai Grace Mugabe’s pronouncement that the wing fully supported Vice-Presidents Emmerson Mnangagwa and Phelekezela Mphoko.
Cde Moyo warned that party members found guilty of plotting the ouster of either of the VPs faced punitive action. On Friday, Grace Mugabe told the Zanu-PF Women’s League National Assembly that the wing’s proposed amendments to the party’s constitution had been misinterpreted as a strategy to push out one of the VPs.
The decision to have Article 7(1)(b) brought back into force was taken at last year’s conference in Victoria Falls. The provision reserves one of the VP posts for a woman, and some party officials were allegedly using this lobby to try and replace one of the VPs come December.
Dr Chombo, whose office is responsible for drawing up the conference agenda, said, “It is not enough to address the physical side of things – it is essential that the content side is equally attended to if we are to achieve our intended goals and objectives as a party.
“The content will be guided by President Mugabe’s statements and exhortations during the year. The major statements by the President and First Secretary of Zanu-PF are as follows:
“(a) There is a need to organise the party from cell, village, branch, district and provincial level; (b) we should genuinely unite the people under the banner of Zanu-PF; (c) we should also undertake to fight factionalism, divisions, nepotism, tribalism and regionalism so as to grow the party;
“(d) Shun corruption at all levels of the party; (e) listen to the concerns of the people; (f) stop jostling for party positions, wait to be elected by the people and respect the choice of the electorate; (g) be a leadership of good conduct, which stays with the people always;
“(h) Teach people party strategy; (i) we should be orderly and systematic in doing things; (j) remain people-oriented by knowing how people live, what their problems are and the proffer solutions; (k) be cautious of social media, don’t use it as a platform to attack others and settle personal scores;
“(l) Teach the people about Government economic programmes such as Zim-Asset; (m) don’t lie and gossip about other people, you will destroy your integrity and in the process weaken the party; and (n) always respect your seniors and if you differ, do so respectfully.”
Cde Moyo said no party member should campaign for the VP’s post since it was President Mugabe’s prerogative to appoint his deputies as provided for by the party constitution. She explained that while the resolution for one VP post to be held by a woman stood, and that it could be accomodated in Zanu-PF’s constitution before year-end, the aim was not to remove a sitting VP.
Grace Mugabe and Cde Moyo’s statements put to rest speculation that one of the VPs would be booted out.
“We don’t want the VPs to be disturbed during their term; this is what the First Lady was explaining during the Friday Women’s League meeting. Party members and supporters shouldn’t listen to gossip that such such and such a VP will be removed from office because of the Women’s League resolution,” said Cde Moyo.
On Friday, Grace Mugabe said, “Your Excellency, just to put the record straight, our resolution was misunderstood and misinterpreted. The resolution never meant to dispense with anyone. On this note, I wish to assure ubaba. . . uVice-Presidents and Second Secretaries, Cdes Mnangagwa and Mphoko, that you have our full support.”
At the same gathering, President Mugabe said Zanu-PF was united and would not allow rumours to divide and destroy its top leadership, including VPs with liberation war credentials.