Zanu PF pledges free and fair elections

Zanu-PF National Political Commissar Lieutenant-General Engelbert Rugeje (Retired)

The ruling Zanu-PF will ensure free, fair and violence-free elections as Government commits to safeguarding a democratic dispensation under President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s new leadership.

Addressing a Provincial Coordinating Committee meeting in Masvingo yesterday, newly appointed Zanu-PF National Political Commissar Lieutenant-General Engelbert Rugeje (Retired) re-affirmed the party’s commitment to holding free and fair harmonised elections this year.

Lt Gen (Rtd) said, the party wanted a violence-free election, an undertaking that has already been made by President Mnangagwa.

The PCC meeting was held to formally introduce newly-appointed Politburo members from Masvingo province.

“We do not want violence, (and) we want free and fair elections in 2018 and the President always says that we want to hold free and fair elections. We want democracy,” he said.

Lt Gen Rugeje (Rtd) said the ruling party would not tolerate imposition of candidates as the party holds primary elections ahead of the plebiscite.

He said even party leaders would not be shielded from being contested during the party’s primary elections.

“Even in our own internal party processes in the Zanu-PF primaries, we want them to be free and fair. We want free and fair elections and we will make sure the primary elections are free and fair.

“We do not want a situation where special favours will be given to senior leaders, even myself as the National Political Commissar, if I want to contest say, in Bikita East primaries. I have to remove my official jacket and get into the race with others as an equal,” he said.

Lt Gen Rugeje (Rtd) also warned some ruling party members eyeing seats ahead of the 2018 harmonised elections not to abuse the national leadership’s names.

The National Political Commissar also took time to pay tribute to President Mnangagwa for choosing him to lead the party’s Commissariat.

He said his major task was to mobilise new members into the party so that the revolutionary party scores a thumping victory in the forthcoming election.

“I will mend broken fences. My task is to mobilise, not to destroy. I am not here to destroy or beat up people. I am there to build the party,” he said.

He said the leadership, ushered into office following the successful launch of Operation Restore Legacy, led by the Zimbabwe Defence Forces had forgiven some members of the vanquished G40 cabal.

“We have forgiven them, but of course, not forgotten. We do not want a situation where some people who were first members of ZUM (Zimbabwe Unity Movement), then they joined the Gamatox faction and recently became members of the G40 cabal to move around boasting after drinking one or two beers that nothing can be done to them. We do not want that!”

Lt Gen Rugeje (Rtd) also lamented the direction that Zanu-PF had taken under the misdirection of crooked characters such as ex-Zanu-PF Politburo members Professor Jonathan Moyo and Mr Saviour Kasukuwere.

“There is no more room for criminals in Zanu-PF. The party cannot be bought with money. Never! Zanu-PF is a party of volunteers. We will not tolerate criminals,” he said.

Lt Gen Rugeje (Rtd) said war veterans had a key role to play in the ruling party as they are the custodians of Zanu-PF. He said the party would re-introduce refresher courses for senior leaders so that they maintain its political orientation to be carried from generation-to-generation.

Plans were are afoot for members occupying leadership positions at every level to go through the party’s ideological mill at the Chitepo School of Ideology.

Addressing the same gathering, Zanu-PF Masvingo senior Politburo member Josaya Hungwe urged party leaders to educate members on the new political dispensation in Zimbabwe.

The Minister of State for Provincial Affairs for Masvingo said the party’s commissariat was in safe hands under the leadership of a war veteran who understood Zimbabwe’s revolutionary history.

He urged Zanu-PF members in Masvingo to intensify preparations for 2018 harmonised elections to deliver an emphatic victory for President Mnangagwa and the party in the forthcoming elections.

The PCC meeting was attended by other Politburo members including Secretary for Legal Affairs Paul Mangwana, Secretary for National Security Lovemore Matuke, Youth Affairs secretary Pupurai Togarepi and members of the Central Committee, among others.