Zanu-PF extraordinary congress: What you need to know

2017-10-17 11:09
President Robert Mugabe. (Themba Hadebe, AP)

President Robert Mugabe. (Themba Hadebe, AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Harare - In an unusual development, President Robert Mugabe’s ruling Zanu-PF party is to hold a special congress this December ahead of elections in 2018.

The extraordinary congress has been brought forward by two years.

Here’s what Zimbabwe analysts are saying:

Mugabe won't step down – but Grace could step up

Analysts say that Mugabe wants to use this congress to entrench his family’s hold on power. That could mean a new position as vice president for Grace, the first lady. Under the party’s constitution, one of the vice presidents has to be a woman.

That hasn’t been the case since Joice Mujuru was sacked, at Grace’s instigation, in 2014. Backed by supporters of the G40 faction, Mugabe could use this congress to get Grace Mugabe elected.

Mnangagwa may be pushed out…

There’s some speculation Mugabe and his supporters (and Grace) could use the congress to push out Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, the man so long seen as Mugabe’s favoured successor.

Grace has been increasingly vocal in her criticism of Mnangagwa in the last few weeks.

Or Mugabe may choose to keep him

Analyst Takavafira Zhou said that those aligned to Mnangagwa "may be mooting an idea of resisting the dynasty" and could "show their force at the congress".

Mnangagwa has many backers within the ruling party’s old guard. Alienating them and their allies within the war veterans and security establishments could be risky for Mugabe, says another analyst, Pedzisai Ruhanya.

In the past, the war veterans have been "critical instruments of coercion". Mugabe may decide he can't afford to have them in the opposition with elections just round the corner.

The opposition could capitalise on Zanu-PF divisions...

"It’s not a done deal that Mugabe will win in 2018," says Ruhanya.

He said there are three things that are extraordinary about this 'extraordinary' congress: "He [Mugabe] is getting old, his wife is ambitious and he is betraying his old friends who want to ascend to power."

Given that, Mugabe could face resistance from within his own party, and this would benefit the opposition. At the moment though, the opposition is severely weakened with MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai recently hospitalised from cancer and little evidence that opposition supporters are being mobilised to register to vote.

But it looks unlikely

Plans for an opposition alliance to oppose Mugabe seem to be at a standstill. "The prospect of a united opposition to face Mugabe is all but diminishing," said the private NewsDay paper in an editorial.

Is victory for Zanu-PF a foregone conclusion whatever happens at December’s extraordinary congress? We will know next year.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Inside News24

 
/News
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.