Zanu PF in volte-face on primary elections

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Staff Reporter

PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa’s Zanu PF party has nullified decisions by district and provincial structures to reject applications from some of activists who want to compete in its primary elections.

The decision comes as it emerged disgruntled victims of the decisions were planning a protest vote that could benefit opposition presidential candidate Nelson Chamisa.

In a letter to all districts and provinces Zanu PF secretary for administration Obert Mpofu said the party’s leadership had expressed “dismayed” by numerous complaints from prospective candidates who have been shut out.

“Reference is made to the commissariat letter dated 3 April 2018,” said Mpofu.

“The letter serves to advise that (the) leadership of the party has been inundated with calls by aspiring candidates who are claiming that their CVs have been thrown out at both administrative district and provincial levels disqualifying them to participate in the primary elections.”

Mpofu, who doubles up as Home Affairs Ministe, said dozens of aggrieved candidates had approached the leadership for recourse.

“Several aspiring candidates also swarmed Zanu PF headquarters from all provinces complaining about their disqualification to stand by provinces. Leadership is disturbed and dismayed by this development and wants immediate correction to this matter,” he said.

Leadership has final say

“As secretary for administration I hereby direct all provinces to receive all CVs of aspiring candidates, make comments and urgently forward them to party headquarters for vetting.”

The Zanu PF secretary for administration said the party’s leadership will have the final say on who will be allowed or disallowed to compete.

“The final decision on who qualifies and who does not qualify will be made by party headquarters and not district or province. This is in reference to all CVs received before the cut-off date but were rejected for whatever reason.

“I appeal to all provinces to adhere to the Zanu PF rules and regulations that government the conduct of primary elections as directed above,” said Mpofu.

Reports of vicious fights have emerged including attempts to close out party activists suspected to have links to a faction known as G40 that lost the fight to succeed former President Robert Mugabe last year.

Most of the affected provinces are Manicaland, Masvingo, Mashonaland Central, East, West and Central. An anonymous letter from Mashonaland Central threatened the protest vote in support of the opposition.