Tendai Mugabe Senior Reporter—
ZANU-PF organs and affiliates yesterday accused Mashonaland Central Province and its leadership of trying to usurp, for factional ends, President Mugabe’s powers to appoint his deputies as spelt out by the revolutionary party’s constitution.This was after the province came up with a controversial resolution proposing to stop the President from appointing his deputies as enshrined in the Zanu-PF constitution, saying Vice Presidents should be elected.
Mashonaland Central provincial chairman Cde Dickson Mafios on Tuesday trashed Zanu-PF’s one-centre-of-power principle which was introduced to stem factionalism, saying it served no purpose.
The one-centre-of-power principle, he said, was not “benefiting” anyone.
“There is need for flexibility in a democratic system,” Cde Mafios said.
“There is need for flexibility to advise the President that we adjust that concept of one -centre-of-power, be flexible such that the Vice Presidents be elected.”
Cde Mafios, who is brother to Zanu-PF national political commissar Cde Saviour Kasukuwere — who is reported to be a key figure in the so-called G40 faction — was accused of abusing his position for factional ends.
Mashonaland Central, which also proposed that one of the Vice Presidents should be a woman, was accused of taking factionalism and regionalism to a new high.
According to the Zanu-PF constitution as amended in 2014, the party President is empowered to appoint his deputies and members of the Politburo.
Section 32 (1) (b) of the Zanu-PF constitution stipulates that there should be “Two Vice Presidents and Second Secretaries appointed in accordance with the Unity Accord by the President for their skill, experience, probity, integrity and commitment to the party ideology, values, principles and policies.”
After he was empowered by the party as one-centre-of-power to make key appointments, the President appointed Cdes Emmerson Mnangagwa and Phelekezela Mphoko as his deputies.
This was after a realisation that the practice of electing VPs and other officials had become a breeding ground for factionalism, individualism and multiple centres of power that afflicted Zanu-PF in the run-up to the 2014 Congress.
In his official capacity as the First Secretary and President of the party, the President makes such appointments from a pool of elected Central Committee members in all provinces.
First to openly pour cold water on Mashonaland Central’s resolution was Zanu-PF Women’s League national commissar Cde Mabel Chinomona who said the resolution was tantamount to rebelling against President Mugabe.
Said Cde Chinomona: “There is a lot that has been said with suggestions that some people want to rebel against the President. So if we are usurping the powers of the President, are we not rebelling against him?
“We gave the powers to the President and it should remain like that. I don’t think it will be good to come with a resolution that suits the mind of an individual.
“If we are leaders we should be principled. It’s us who asked for one-centre-of-power (and) all of sudden we change and issue a different statement.
“It becomes confusing. We don’t know what has motivated people to shift powers from the President.”
Zimbabwe Liberation War Collaborators Association (Ziliwaco) chairman Cde Pupurai Togarepi said the one-centre-of-power principal was adopted after serious considerations by the party.
“We subscribe fully to the one-centre-of- power principle. We cannot be changing our constitution like as we are changing socks. This is a constitution which leads the principles of our revolution. We made that decision after serious considering the importance of us having one centre of power as our President making vital decisions that defend this revolution.
“So for us to be changing because we have certain interests or we have seen a challenge is unfortunate. I think if there are problems let’s solve but removing the one centre of power at this stage would very wrong. It will confuse membership of the party, creates more anarchy and misunderstandings in the party. I think maintaining one centre of power will protect the interests of Zanu-PF.”
Zimbabwe Ex-Political Prisoners, Detainees and Restrictees Association (Zeppdra) chairperson Cde Victor Kuretu said they subscribed to the one centre of power principle.
As an organisation, Mr Kuretu said, they would issue a detailed statement regarding the proposal made by Mashonaland Central.
“The position at the moment is that the party has one centre of power,” he said.
“We remain as per the 2014 adjustment that gave the President power to appoint his deputies. As regards to this resolution backed by one province, we have to look at it and study it after which we will issue a statement.”
Mashonaland Central also drew fire and fierce brickbats as to why the province was only zeroing in on the VPs.
They said the resolution does not only contradict with the party’s constitution as amended but were also a direct challenge to the President as the appointing authority.
Some party members from Mashonaland Central province, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals, distanced themselves from the resolution saying they had been at the forefrontof advocating the one centre of power principle when former party and national vice president Dr Joice Mujuru, who hailed from the province, sought to usurp President Mugabe’s powers and it was ironic that now a resolution that sought to undermine the President was being couched as seeking to protect him.
‘’What (Cde) Mafios is effectively proposing by trashing the one centre of power principle is the creation of alternative centres of power, which in other words is known as factionalism. I am not part of it,’’ said an executive member who refused to be named.