A deeply-divided Zanu PF meets for its annual conference in Victoria Falls next week amid calls by its Women’s League for the return of the women’s quota in the presidium, threatening Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s prospects of succeeding President Robert Mugabe.
While the women’s quota calls are growing louder, party insiders say constitutional processes have to be abided with before the decision can be endorsed by relevant structures since next week’s conference is not an elective congress.
However, women are pushing for one of them to be included in the presidium even as the party’s chairperson since that constitutional position has not been filled since the December congress.
The move to return the party quota system comes after it was discarded late last year, at the height of the pre-congress Zanu PF’s factional and succession wars.
Outside congress, constitutional amendments to adopt the proposal can only be done by the central committee, according to the Zanu PF constitution.
The call for a women’s quota, which Zanu PF insiders say is a plot by a faction, referred to as Generation 40 — which is engaged in a bitter succession wrangle with Mnangagwa — is aimed at replacing Mnangagwa with First Lady Grace Mugabe.
The resolution was made first by Mashonaland West province led by Sarah Mahoka, the Women’s League’s national secretary for finance, while other provinces such as Mashonaland East, West, Central and Bulawayo followed suit.
Mahoka is a close Grace ally.
However, Mnangagwa loyalists have vowed to block the plot using the party constitution.
Meanwhile, the politburo last week confirmed and imposed acting chairpersons as substantive without elections, fearing polls to elect substantive provincial leaders would widen divisions and result in violence.
Zanu PF political commissar Saviour Kasukuwere said despite infighting his party was “on top of the situation” and was ready for the conference.
“We are on top of the situation and everything is under control. We are happy with the progress,” Kasukuwere said.
He however denied that there was violence during the restructuring exercise.
“There were isolated cases not warranting to be called violence — the Manyame murders were purely criminal acts divorced completely from anything to do with the party except that they were all party members,” said Kasukuwere.
Asked if the violence surrounding the restructuring exercise will not affect the upcoming Zanu PF’s conference, Kasukuwere said: “We are a solid party and will not be affected in anyway.
“We are on top of the situation, a lot has been done and we have witnessed massive growth of the party and more districts have been set up.”