Friday, December 11, 2009

Factionalism rocks ZANU-PF congress

Factionalism rocks ZANU-PF congress
By Kingsley Kaswende in Harare, Zimbabwe
Fri 11 Dec. 2009, 04:00 CAT

FACTIONALISM within ZANU-PF has taken centre stage at the ongoing fifth National People's Congress, with a provincial chairman quitting his post over the failure by the party to nominate his favourite candidate for a top post.

The party's chairman for Manicaland Province, Basil Nyabadza, on Wednesday tendered his letter of resignation while the meeting of the politiburo, the party's highest decision-making body, was dominated by debate on factionalism, which is threatening the unity of the party.

ZANU-PF deputy spokesperson Ephraim Masawi said the party has accepted Nyabadza's resignation after it received his letter, in which he said the major reason for his action was that he failed to secure the nomination of party stalwart Didymus Mutasa for the position of national chairman.

Manicaland Province had opted for Mutasa for the post, but Zimbabwe's ambassador to South Africa Simon Khaya Moyo secured the backing of the other nine provinces.

Addressing journalists on Wednesday night, party deputy spokesperson Ephraim Masawi said the party had appointed Manicaland governor Christopher Mushohwe as the acting chairman.

“The Politburo discussed Comrade Nyabadza's resignation and quickly accepted it. We have appointed Comrade Mushohwe as acting chairman and he will lead the province until they elect a new chairman,” Masawi said.

There have been reports of factionalism in several provinces and the issue has been placed amongst the top priority issues at the congress.

Factionalism and the imposition of candidates have been blamed for the party's current poor showing and observers will be keen to see how the party handles this divisive issue.

The five-yearly congress comes after ZANU-PF's first poor showing in an election, in which the party lost total control after 28 years in power, which resulted in the formation of the inclusive government with the MDC in February this year.

The congress got underway on Wednesday with the Politburo meeting, which was followed by the assembly of the Central Committee before President Robert Mugabe officially opens proceedings with his keynote address today.

According to the agenda, President Mugabe will also table the Central Committee report for adoption by congress.

The real business is expected to start when various thematic committees go into a closed session to debate the state of the party, the operations of the inclusive government, the constitution-making process, land reform, the media and international relations.

Committee discussions are expected to continue tomorrow and reports will be tabled on resolutions and the way forward. Also of interest are amendments to ZANU-PF's constitution although clauses that will come up for discussion were not revealed.

This, according to the programme released by the politburo, would be followed by the election of the Presidium top four posts and Central Committee members.

After this, the President will announce names of individuals who will head and deputise the departments of the politburo.

The politburo is ZANU-PF's most powerful decision-making body outside the congress.
President Mugabe is expected to wind up proceedings on Saturday with a closing address.

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