The Sunday Mail
Lincoln Towindo and Zvamaida Murwira
ZANU-PF will not convene a “special” Politburo meeting on Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s alleged involvement in succession politics with no such intention being expressed at last week’s extraordinary indaba of the ruling party’s organ, it has emerged.
Party National Secretary for Administration Dr Ignatius Chombo yesterday dismissed private media claims made last week – attributed to unnamed sources, one of whom is believed to be Higher and Tertiary Education Minister Professor Jonathan Moyo – purporting that the revolutionary party would hold an extraordinary Politburo meeting to put VP Mnangagwa in the dock.
Further, the Speaker of the National Assembly Advocate Jacob Mudenda yesterday rapped the Zimbabwe Independent, a private newspaper, for its “brown envelope” reporting on the matter.
Last week’s Politburo meeting deliberated on a report compiled by an Adv Mudenda-led probe into allegations that Zanu-PF National Political Commissar Cde Saviour Kasukuwere was, among other things, angling to topple President Mugabe.
The Politburo resolved that President Mugabe and his two deputies, VPs Mnangagwa and Phelekezela Mphoko, would decide Cde Kasukuwere’s fate.
After that meeting, the Zimbabwe Independent and other private newspapers known to lean towards Cde Kasukuwere and Prof Moyo, claimed the Politburo would soon meet to lay counter-allegations against VP Mnangagwa to the effect that he was seeking to remove President Mugabe.
Yesterday, Dr Chombo told The Sunday Mail that: “I am unaware of it (‘special’ Politburo meeting); when there is a Politburo meeting I always come to the Press to inform you. There is no such meeting.”
He also warned that party members who abused social media would be descvilined.
And in Bulawayo, in his keynote address at an interface between the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs and civic society, Adv Mudenda said: “I have read the Independent paper, which has been so biased. The media should report objectively and not follow the brown envelope.
“They only highlighted what Prof Moyo had said and ignored the blow-by-blow account that I gave together with other Politburo members. That was very unprofessional because you need to give a fair and balanced account and not a biased and one-sided account as they did.”
Meanwhile, Dr Chombo said Zanu-PF would cear all pending disciplinary cases within two months in order to approach the 2018 elections with “no unnecessary baggage”.
He added, “Zanu-PF is busy at the moment making sure that the cells and the branches have been restructured. This is critical in that we will be able to get the exact number of party members that we have because every member of the party is registered in a given cell; so we will then know how many we are.
“That information is useful in that it gives us a picture of how many votes we are likely to get in 2018 from our known registered party members. So, the restructuring being done by the Commissariat is important in that regard.”
Dr Chombo said while the ongoing Presidential Youth Interface meetings were not part of the party’s election campaign proper, they were being used to gauge organisational and mobilisation capacity; and feedback from the engagements would be used to draw up a people-oriented manifesto.
President Mugabe has addressed two such interfaces in Mashonaland East and Manicaland provinces, with the next one slated for Masvingo on Friday.
“The President is meeting the youths. You can see people are coming in thousands upon thousands to meet the President, to see the President and to hear the President.
“We have, however, not yet started campaigning full throttle, but the President wants to meet his people to hear their view their concerns and aspirations; so that when we go to the (Annual National People’s) Conference, when we come up with the manifesto, it is based on people’s wishes and aspirations and not based on what the funders of the political party want, like the Mujurus or Tsvangirais and so on.”
Dr Chombo, who is also Home Affairs Minister, said the Registrar-General’s Office would soon open mobile units for national identification registration to encourage eligible voters without ID cards to get the documentation.
VP Mphoko will launch the programme in Matabeleland South and North provinces.
Dr Chombo said, “The party is quite busy now encouraging members identified in cells to go out and register as voters. We are all aware that you cannot be allowed to vote unless you are registered as a voter.
“But at the same time you cannot be registered as a voter if you don’t have a national identification card; those two go hand-in-hand.
“So, as the Ministry of Home Affairs we are working with Registrar-General’s Office to launch a programme to have mobile registration units throughout the provinces. We are going to start with Matabeleland South and Matabeleland North. The launch in those two provinces will be launched by Vice-President Mphoko. We are just waiting for confirmation of the dates.”
Dr Chombo said Zanu-PF would soon start raising funds in preparation for National People’s Conference in Matabeleland South province.
He welcomed the new polling station-based voting system saying this woud leave opposition parties with no room to allege electoral fraud.
“You are aware now that starting this coming year the voting system will be polling station-based (rather than ward-based). This system in my view is extremely important in that it gives the voter an opportunity to vote at a polling station near where you reside. The polling station is a place nearest you as a voter.
“This does away with the problem of those who claim that they failed vote because the polling station is a long distance away. We are making sure that every citizen has access to a voting place nearest them. We are giving them an opportunity to chose who represents them.
“But more importantly, with this polling station-based system you won’t have that many people voting per polling station. An overwhelming majority of the people voting at the polling station will know each other so the possibility of people cheating does not arise.
“This will shame the opposition which is always complaining that elections are rigged. The election system in Zimbabwe is as good as it gets.”