ZANU PF yesterday said the party’s succession matrix would always be guided by its constitution and remained a straitjacket where the most senior party member would succeed an incumbent party leader
Addressing a Press briefing in Harare, acting national spokesperson Patrick Chinamasa said Zanu PF remained guided by the constitution in dealing with the succession issue.
“Zanu PF has a constitution and under that constitution, we sit as a congress to elect our president,” Chinamasa said.
“In 1977, a lot of the leaders had fallen by the wayside. The most senior person in rank remaining was (the late) Cde Robert Mugabe and at the congress in Chimoio, he was elected president of Zanu then,” Chinamasa said.
“In November (2017), exactly on the basis of the precedence of 1977, exactly that is what happened when it became very clear that our constitution was being trampled upon by the G40 cabal and that they were threatening the stability of the nation, the party moved in and we elected, at our December congress, President (Emmerson) Mnangagwa as leader of Zanu PF.”
Chinamasa also said Mnangagwa had become the target of the G40 cabal as it was clear, by virtue of him being the most senior in the party, that he was going to take over as president of the party and country.
The succession issue in Zanu PF has remained a thorny issue that which at one time pitted Mugabe. Mnangagwa, former Vice-President Joice Mujuru and the G40.
Mnangagwa, in 2004 led a foiled palace coup dubbed the Tsholotsho Declaration that sought to catapult him from a distant position in the party hierarchy to the vice-presidency that could have immediately positioned him to take over from Mugabe.
Mujuru fell in 2014, but that did not herald the end of factionalism in the party, with the G40, backed by Mugabe, emerging to pose a serious threat to Mnangagwa.
The G40 cabal was, however, vanquished during a military coup that ousted Mugabe in November 2017.
Zanu PF secretary for war veterans Douglas Mahiya supported Chinamasa, saying the most senior person in the party automatically took over.
Mahiya said: “We are guided by the revolutionary fundamentals to continue with the revolution forever.
“We were very clear, we did not tell the former President to resign; we did not say he must go away.
“We simply told him (Mugabe) that when your time is up, you do not mislead the nation or do the wrong thing against what is dictated by the revolution to give the power of this country to any other, other than the people.”
Mahiya said Mnangagwa was the most senior person to take over from Mugabe.
Chinamasa said a lot of developments occurred before and during the coup period, but the party was not yet ready to disclose them at the moment.
“Behind the scenes, a lot took place, but it is too early to say. The further from November 2017, the more likely we are going to tell you.”
He said the succession in Zanu PF was a straitjacket and while it allowed everyone to manoeuvre “within the straitjacket, no one could manoeuvre outside it”.
Chinamasa described the month of November as a “sacred month” for the party and the country” as it gave birth to a “new dispensation” after years of “regrettable events”.
“We are yet to heal. These were the worst ever days in the chapter of the life of our President, Cde ED Mnangagwa, worse than the hanging sentence because then, it was the enemy he had chosen to fight against notwithstanding any consequences.”
Chinamasa said the party had “already won” the 2023 elections two years before the polls are held despite several challenges the party has faced in turning around the economy that include natural disasters.
Chinamasa did not elaborate on how the party “has won” the elections but told journalists that under Mnangagwa, the government had weathered the storm and was on the right track.
“2023 is a dead rubber election. It’s over before voting,” Chinamasa declared, adding the ruling party had faced its fair share of challenges, including COVID-19, Cyclone Idai, sanctions and violence, among other issues.