The Sunday Mail
Lincoln Towindo and Norman Muchemwa
Zanu-PF has activated internal processes to select the party’s preferred candidates for presiding officers in the Ninth Parliament of Zimbabwe ahead of Tuesday’s elections.
Parliamentarians will on Tuesday elect a Speaker of National Assembly, a Senate President, and their deputies.
The Sunday Mail has gathered that Zanu-PF is vetting possible candidates, with the Parliamentary Caucus set to be apprised of the candidates ahead of the vote.
Party spokesperson Ambassador Simon Khaya Moyo said processes leading to candidates’ selection had been set in motion.
Ruling party outgoing Chief Whip Cde Lovemore Matuke said the Parliamentary Caucus stood guided by the Politburo.
“As the Chief Whip, I whip people to follow the party line, so the party will give direction on who will be seconded to what position,” said Cde Matuke.
“There is going to be a party process to look into our Members of Parliament and their suitability for the positions.
“I think we still have a lot of time and we are still consulting our seniors, but we will meet the deadline and decide on that. We are not under pressure because we have up to Tuesday.”
Zanu-PF Secretary for Administration Dr Obert Mpofu explained: “We conduct our issues not through the media, but through our internal processes. It is the prerogative of the President to call for a Politburo meeting, but I cannot say now when we are going to have a Politburo meeting.
“If we are to have a meeting, the President will direct us to convene that meeting. We meet regularly, monthly or more than once a month, so I cannot tell you when the next Politburo is going to convene.”
Sixes and sevens
While Zanu-PF is lining its ducks in a row, the opposition MDC Alliance is at sixes and sevens with factional interests reigning supreme.
Spokesperson Professor Welshman Ncube told The Sunday Mail that it was to contest the elections since Zanu-PF had an overwhelming majority in both the National Assembly and Senate.
“I am yet to have a conversation on that subject with the Parliamentary Caucus on the way forward,” said Prof Ncube.
“But it should stand to reason that we don’t have the numbers to contest for any of those positions, so it will make very little sense to try and field a candidate when Zanu-PF has the numbers to elect whoever they chose; it will be very unreasonable for us to even consider that possibility.
“Ordinarily, the most senior person who will be in Parliament will lead the opposition business unless there is a reason to change that.
“The most senior of those in the National Assembly will obviously be the leader of opposition in the House and similarly, the most senior member in Senate will also lead the caucus.”
Mr Tendai Biti, an MDC Alliance principal, is the most senior member of the coalition in the National Assembly.
But Mr Douglas Mwonzora, secretary-general of the MDC-T faction led by Mr Nelson Chamisa, insisted they would field candidates.
“The Alliance is going to contest both positions of presiding officers for the National Assembly as well as the Senate.
“In the Senate, we are fielding Morgan Komichi as candidate for President of Senate, we are also fielding Lilian Timveous as candidate for Deputy President of Senate.
“In the National Assembly, we are fielding Paurina Mupariwa as candidate for Speaker’s position and Murisi Zwizwai as candidate for the Deputy Speaker position.
“Well, the leader of opposition business in Parliament is likely going to be the most senior member of the party in Parliament, but that depends on how the elections will go; the same with Senate.
“The MDC is going to make a list of various appointees in various groups for both National Assembly and Senate on Tuesday,” he said.