Zanu-PF special congress 'not aimed at firing VP Mnangagwa', said Mugabe aide

2017-10-23 12:34
Emmerson Mnangagwa. (File: AFP)

Emmerson Mnangagwa. (File: AFP)

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Harare – Zimbabwe's ruling Zanu-PF party has maintained that its special congress to be held in December will not be used to fire President Robert Mugabe's lieutenants.

According to the state-owned Sunday News, Zanu-PF National Secretary for Administration Ignatius Chombo said that contrary to claims by the private media that the congress would be used to dismiss Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, Mugabe had made it clear that focus would be on polls.

In an unusual development, Zanu-PF was set to hold a special congress in December ahead of the 2018 elections.

"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," Chombo was quoted as saying.

Two distinct factions 

The congress had been brought forward by two years, a development, which some analysts said was designed to help Mugabe entrench his family's hold on power.

Recent reports indicated that there was a proposed push ahead of the congress to include a woman in the presidium, a move seen by many as a way by the party's G40 faction to ensure that its leader First Lady Grace Mugabe became vice president.  

Zanu-PF was divided into two distinct factions that sought to outwit each other in the battle to succeed Mugabe. 

One of the camps calling itself "Team Lacoste" was linked to Mnangagwa, while another faction made up of Young Turks trading by the name Generation 40 was reportedly linked to Grace. G40 was said to be seeking to torpedo Mnangagwa's presidential ambitions. 

However, both Mnangagwa and the First Lady have publicly denied harbouring presidential ambitions.  

According to NewsDay, Grace's allies were said to be pushing for her elevation at the congress.

'Personal and individual interests' 

The report said that the G40 faction was allegedly plotting to use the event to either push out Mnangagwa and replace him with Grace or create the post of a third vice-president to sneak the First Lady in.

Meanwhile, Zimbabwe's former freedom fighters vowed last week to stop the alleged plan to get Mugabe's wife elected as a vice president.

The chairperson of Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association in Bulawayo, Caphas Ncube, said that they were "watching them [G40] closely" and would "defend the revolution we fought for".

Ncube said, however, that the war veterans were not against the proposed extraordinary conference, but were against the continuous "changing of the party's constitution to suit personal and individual interests".

"We cannot have a situation where the party's constitution is being changed at the behest of other people," Ncube was quoted as saying.

Read more on:    zanu-pf  |  grace mugabe  |  emmerson mnangagwa  |  robert mugabe  |  zimbabwe  |  southern africa

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