By James Muonwa
THE ruling Zanu PF party has thrown caution to the wind and has set in motion processes for the holding of internal elections to choose leaders of grassroots structures as part of its ongoing restructuring exercise.
Acting national commissar, Patrick Chinamasa has directed provincial chairpersons to superintendent over the conduct of polls countrywide to elect party branches by next Sunday.
Through circular Number 8 of 2021, Chinamasa gave the green light for local plebiscites to be held in urban cells and villages.
Chinamasa’s circular reads in part; “This circular serves to authorise provinces to move into the second phase of the party restructuring exercise and conduct elections for party branches by 22 August 2021.”
Although the party notes the danger posed by holding the polls which attract hundreds of party members, Chinamasa nonchalantly urged provincial chairpersons to avoid crowding and to comply with Level 4 lockdown measures that forbid gatherings exceeding 50 people.
“Provincial chairpersons are requested to guide the election process such that there will be no crowding of people during the elections as required by Covid-19 protocols,” wrote the acting national commissar.
The impending polls will see the election of chairpersons of the cells’ main wing, women’s league, youth, and war veterans leagues, a development that is likely to witness large gatherings in defiance of set Covid-19 prevention and containment measures.
Chinamasa further wrote; “Chairpersons of the above-mentioned wings shall be elected by all members in the cell/villages in the branches while the remaining 156 members shall be elected through the basket system.”
This system, Chinamasa added, ensures that all party cells or villages making up the branch are fairly represented in the branch executive committee.
The Zanu PF commissariat department recently ordered a moratorium on co-options of members to fill vacancies in the powerful district coordinating committees (DCCs) countrywide, most of which were left void due to deaths of incumbents from the devastating Covid-19 pandemic.
Chinamasa said the ongoing restructuring within the party would automatically fill vacant posts, and, therefore, cherry-picking replacements was unnecessary.
The impending Zanu PF internal elections come against a backdrop of a government ban on by-elections to choose recalled or deceased MPs and councillors across the country as the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) took the bold decision to stem the spread of the deadly respiratory ailment.