Mugabe rules out leadership shake up

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe addresses an election rally of his ZANU PF party in Marondera

President Robert Mugabe

VICTORIA FALLS – President Robert Mugabe has said he would not entertain calls by party hawks for a leadership shake up of the ZANU-PF top brass saying those he appointed will continue in office till the next congress.

Addressing about 6 000 delegates gathered here in his official opening remarks, President Mugabe appeared to frustrate the ambitions of some party members who had involved themselves in a nasty dogfight seeking to upstage each other.

This comes as factionalism rocked the ruling party boat in the run up to the conference, with members relentlessly attacking each other in public and seeking ways to outsmart each other at every turn.

Months leading to the indaba had seen rounds of suspensions and counter-suspicions and even violence in the party.

Vice President, Emmerson Mnangagwa, has had his position come under supposed serious threat from an opposing faction known as the Generation 40 (G40) that is thought to be fronted by national political commissar, Saviour Kasukuwere, who has also been targeted for ouster by youths, war veterans and other interest groups.

Also under fire was war veterans leader, Christopher Mutsvangwa, who, on the eve of President Mugabe’s speech, was reportedly subject of G40 ouster plots.

President Mugabe however ridiculed all such machinations saying it is only at the next elective congress – due in 2019 – when positions would be considered.


Part of the delegates at the Zanu PF conference

This may also effectively dent another G40 plot to push for the resurrection of the presidium women’s quarter system which many thought was calculated to checkmate Mnangagwa.

In his speech, President Mugabe said problems in the revolutionary party were being fomented by power hungry cadres who were not patient enough to wait for their time.

“The problem is that some want leadership positions and they start to canvass for support and cause divisions in the process. They divide people saying this one belongs to this camp, that one belongs to that camp, but we say all ZANU-PF people belong to the party and not to any individual,” he said.

“I said, only when the congress is due, when terms of office bearers expire and we open the system to all those itching for positions to contest; yet before we even go to congress, they are already saying this one should be removed from his position so that they can prematurely satisfy their ambitions, tinoti pasi navo (we say to hell with them). Let them be reminded that congress happens only after five years and in between it is only the Central Committee, which represents the congress, not this conference,” he charged.

He urged party members to solve their differences amicably and work together as a united front.

“Comradeship should exist amongst us. There is no one who is a better comrade than the other, so let’s drop this nonsense of dividing people. I often hear people say this one belongs to this one’s faction and I say who then belongs to me as leader of the party. The truth is that everyone belongs to ZANU-PF and we must work together as members of one party,” he said.

President Mugabe then said he would not hesitate to deal with those who would continue causing divisions.

Zvino tine tumwe twakaoma misoro tunongoramba tuchiti ava vanhu va (Vice President Phelekezela) Mphoko, ava ndeva Mnangagwa, hatidi kuzvinzwa futi izvozvo. Zvino kana vakaramba vachidaro tinovanyamura nekuti vanoda kuuraya party (There are some among us who mischievously continue saying some people belong to Mphoko and others belong to Mnangagwa. We don’t want that. If they continue doing that, we will pluck them out because they want to destroy the party),” he said to applause from delegates.


President Mugabe and First Lady Grace Mugabe

It will however be interesting to see how the conference would handle the recent recommendations by the women’s league to suspend some of its members who include spokesperson, Monica Mutsvangwa who was recommended for suspension earlier in the week.

Meanwhile, the conference has broken into smaller committees to discuss agenda items, a session which will continue until tomorrow afternoon when resolutions of the conference will be tabled for adoption.

Security at the venue was tight with security personnel conducting strict searches and vetting on every delegate and suspended party members were not allowed into the conference.

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