Friday, 16 January 2015

Mujuru ready to state her case for 2018 Presidency

DEFIANT members of the faction led by former Vice-President Joice Mujuru said yesterday it would be folly to write off the country’s former deputy as she can easily bounce back as President Robert Mugabe’s successor when he leaves office.
Former Vice-President Joice Mujuru ready to state her case for 2018 Presidency
In separate private briefings, Mujuru’s allies said Zanu PF would have to call for an extraordinary congress to elect Mugabe’s successor, during which they believe Mujuru could bounce back as the party’s president and first secretary.

The former Vice President will challenge President Robert Mugabe or whoever will represent Zanu PF in the 2018 general elections, sources said.

Sources close to Mujuru said the faction is busy on the ground and nothing will stop them from ensuring Mujuru becomes the legitimate leader of the country following the December coup where she was dumped by the Zanu PF congress.

“We are on the ground and elections are around the corner. We are not out because people will speak through the ballot in the general elections,” said a source.

“We will not leave Zanu PF but we will make sure we fight from within even if it means having two Zanu PF presidential candidates then so be it and people will speak.”

“There is nothing new in having more than two candidates from one political party and let people decide whom they want to lead them.”

Faction fighting in Zimbabwe’s ruling party has intensified to such an extent that a one-time ally of President Robert Mugabe has written to the southern African nation’s neighbors to complain about his dismissal.

Didymus Mutasa, a member of Mugabe’s first cabinet when Zimbabwe won independence in 1980, told the 15-nation Southern African Development Community that his removal as the ruling party administration secretary was unconstitutional. Mutasa was one of a number of senior party officials, including then Vice President Joice Mujuru and party spokesman Rugare Gumbo, who lost their posts at a party congress in December.

“Common decency has been eroded by dictatorship and personality cults that are being used to gain and retain power,” Mutasa said today by phone from the capital, Harare.

Two provincial committees of Mugabe’s Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front are calling for Mutasa’s expulsion from the party. Mutasa, Mujuru and Gumbo were dismissed from ZANU-PF on allegations of plotting to “oust or assassinate” Mugabe, according to the state-controlled Herald newspaper.

“His statement to SADC and the press shows he’s a renegade and has no place in the party,” Goodwills Masimirembwa, the chairman of Zanu-PF’s Harare province committee, said today by phone from the capital.

The sources also said Mujuru’s silence speaks volumes and should send a clear message to those tormenting her.

“Why do you think Mujuru kept quiet when everyone in Zanu PF was attacking her? This should send a message.”

A few days ago expelled former spokesperson Rugare Gumbo said the Mujuru faction will bounce back and that those writing their political obituaries were dreaming as it was far from over.

In an interview Gumbo, who was expelled from the party on allegations of being part of a clique allegedly led by Mujuru and accused of plotting to kill Mugabe, said this was not their political sunset yet.

He indicated that the ruling party will look for them and when the truth comes out, some people will run for cover.

Gumbo said time will come when someone realizes that all that was said about him and other comrades were lies.

The top Zanu PF officials said First lady Grace, who currently wields plenty of power merely on account of being Mugabe’s wife, would not command as much authority when her husband vacates office.

During her meet-the-people rallies in October last year Grace successfully pushed for Mujuru’s ouster ahead of the December congress.

One former politburo member said: “If anything befalls President Mugabe the party will have to call for an extraordinary congress to elect his replacement. It is at this congress where nominations from the provinces will be presented and endorsed.

“I strongly believe that Mai Mujuru is still in the running for the top post when it falls vacant.”

Mujuru’s allies were, however, quick to point out that the legal challenge they were mounting was not an attack on Mugabe’s authority but on the “illegal” congress which adopted constitutional amendments that allowed the president to appoint his two vice-presidents — Emmerson Mnangagwa and Phelekezela Mphoko.

“At the moment we are not challenging President Mugabe’s post and authority. We respect that. He was endorsed by 10 provinces — that we agree with. But what we are saying is that the congress was illegal,” said another top party official.

“We don’t agree with the way the presidium was appointed. If it was elected we wouldn’t have a quarrel. They were appointed through amendments adopted by an illegal crowd.

“Congress is supposed to be attended by elected office holders, not people in an acting capacity. The amendments are therefore null and void.”

According to the Zanu PF constitution, any proposed amendments shall be submitted to the secretary for administration at least three months before the date of the meeting of the central committee.

The secretary for administration, upon receipt of the proposed amendments, shall circulate them to the provinces at least two months before the date of meeting.

However, the amendments which gave Mugabe power to appoint all politburo members were adopted by the politburo a week before the December congress and these were never circulated to the provinces.

The central committee adopted the amendments which removed provisions stating that one of the vice-presidents shall be a woman and the election of the presidium — except for the president — the day before the congress.

The amended clause stated that the president, his two deputies and chairperson shall stand elected when they receive nominations from at least six provinces.

Ousted secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa on Monday issued a strongly-worded statement indicating that disgruntled Zanu PF members were preparing to mount a court challenge to the legality of the holding of the party’s congress and endorsement of the constitutional amendments that scrapped the election of national office bearers.

“We are determined to push our agenda. The strategy is to push out the mafikizolos (Johnny-come-latelies).They can’t take control of the party we fought for — a party of freedom fighters,” said a former politburo member.

Calls to Zanu-PF headquarters weren’t immediately answered.

The December congress re-appointed Mugabe, 90, as the party’s president, while naming his wife Grace Mugabe as head of the party’s Women’s League and Justice Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa as Vice President.

Mutasa told SADC that the crisis sparked by the decisions of the party congress constitutes “a serious threat to the stability of Zanu-PF, Zimbabwe and the region at large,” he said yesterday in a statement. He called the December congress illegal.

Mnangagwa, speaking at a party meeting in Midlands province today, called Mutasa “out of order” because as the ZANU-PF administration secretary, he organized the December congress.

“No one is going to listen to him, and no positional change will come,” he said.
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