G40 on the ropes
GENERATION 40 (G40) — a faction battling for honours within the ruling party is having a rough time ahead of ZANU-PF’s annual conference scheduled for next month in Victoria Falls as it emerged this week that its plan to have the party’s constitution amended is up in smoke.
The faction has been pushing hard for a constitutional amendment to re-introduce a clause that would compel the party to have a woman in the presidium.
ZANU-PF’s presidium comprises President Robert Mugabe and his deputies, Emmerson Mnangagwa and Phelekezela Mphoko.
Before last year’s amendments, the national chairman of the party completed the presidium line up, but that position has since been abolished with the two Vice Presidents alternating to chair important party gatherings.
Sarah Mahoka, the Women’s League’s national secretary for finance, sold out the plot when she recently declared that the wing wanted one of their own in the presidium.
The declaration raised two possibilities. Either the national chairperson’s position would be revived or one of the two Vice Presidents would be relegated to create the position for a woman.
Either way, sources said G40 was on a mission impossible as this was only achievable by turning the conference next month into an extraordinary congress, which allows for the appointment of executive positions.
It also emerged this week that Mnangagwa’s camp, which controls key party functionaries, was ready to block any such attempts simply because constitutionally, the time permissible for an extraordinary congress has since lapsed.
Members of G40 are frantically trying to make use of article 5:25-26 of the party’s constitution, which gives room for the conference to be turned into an extraordinary congress.
According to this article, an extraordinary congress can be convened at the instigation of a simple majority consensus of the Central Committee, which has 300 members.
The constitution says the case can only be brought to the Central Committee upon endorsement by at least five members of each of the 10 provincial executives.
The Central Committee would then write to secretary for administration, Ignatius Chombo, who in turn would inform the party’s first secretary and president.
The constitution gives Chombo authority to write to districts informing them of such a decision, giving them a six weeks’ notice within which they should bring forth their nominations.
The conference, however, is only three weeks away, which means time has run out.
There has, as such, been much jostling within ZANU-PF’s principal policy organ, the Central Committee, which has the mandate to declare an extraordinary congress and power to alter the constitution as factions battle to control it.
Sources said G40 has failed to garner the required over 50 percent support of the Central Committee membership.
Insiders also said the just-ended restructuring, which G40 had hoped would usher in loyal members in districts who would be useful in signing petitions for the extraordinary congress to be convened, could not materialise as neither faction emerged from it with bragging rights.
As an alternative, G40 had hoped to make use of the votes of no confidence against influential Mnangagwa backers in the provinces. But the votes of no confidence have only served to fuel more confusion because those targeted have simply responded by issuing their own counter votes of no confidence, which has left the party’s national political commissar, Saviour Kasukuwere, with a lot of firefighting to do.
As such, the votes of no confidence have not worked.
In their attempt to tweak the constitution, G40 has a huge stumbling block in the form of secretary for legal affairs, Patrick Chinamasa — a longtime ally of Mnangagwa. Chinamasa, by virtue of his position, is the drafting authority.
Mnangagwa allies this week boldly declared that any hope of dislodging them was mere daydreaming.
“We will not have congress year in, year out. Our next congress is due only in 2019 unless something that will require one happens. But for now, there is absolutely no way we are going to tweak the constitution. So unless the people take the constitution and throw it into the bin, which we do not think President Mugabe will allow, being such a principle leader, there will be no appointments in Victoria Falls,” said a senior ZANU-PF official, who is closely linked to Mnangagwa and claimed to be speaking the Vice President’s mind.
“So they (G40) are daydreaming. They may as well jump into a lake, if they can find one. You look at the calibre of people pushing the agenda and ask (yourself) whether they are really fit to run the country.
“They are students going to school. They should concentrate on their schoolwork,” charged the official in apparent reference to Kasukuwere, Higher Education Minister, Jonathan Moyo and Youth Minister, Patrick Zhuwao — all G40 proponents who are currently studying law at the University of Zimbabwe Law School.
While Chombo could not be reached for comment, both Kasukuwere and ZANU-PF spokesman, Simon Khaya-Moyo, were not answering calls.
Follow us on Twitter on @FingazLive and on Facebook – The Financial Gazette