The proposed Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front special congress that is being called for this year could open a can of worms as only two provincial executives are properly constituted and President Robert Mugabe’s leadership could be challenged as null and void.
Apparently Masvingo and the Midlands, the only two provinces that have been disparaged by First Lady Grace Mugabe, one of the potential beneficiaries of the special congress, are the only ones that have properly elected provincial executives. The other eight are not.
Research and Advocacy Unit, in an analysis of the 2014 ZANU-PF congress and its resolutions argued that the powers that Mugabe was given at the congress and his own party presidency can be challenged because the party constitution was not fully adhered to.
The analysis was written only two months after the congress way before the current infighting over succession in ZANU-PF had erupted.
Here is what RAU argued:
“The State Constitution provides that if President Mugabe dies or retires while in office, a nominee of ZANU PF will serve out his remaining term.
‘The nominee so appointed as State President is likely to be whoever ZANU-PF chooses to take over as President and First Secretary of the Party.
“Thus the manner in which the ZANU-PF Party President is chosen, is a matter of national, and not merely party, interest.
“At ZANU PF’s 6th National People’s Congress amendments were purportedly made to the Party Constitution which changed the way in which all members of the Party Presidium, including the President, are to be appointed.
“The Presidium comprises the President, two Vice-Presidents and National Chairman.
“However, quite evidently, these amendments were not validly made.
“The Central Committee may not initiate amendments to the Party Constitution as it claimed to do.
“Proposed amendments may only be initiated by an organ of the party or an individual member, if the member can garner the support of 50 other members.
“In each case the proposed amendments must be sent to a Provincial Executive Council.
“A Provincial Executive Council may itself propose an amendment.
“The Provincial Executive Council must submit the amendment to the party’s Secretary for Administration three months before the meeting of the Central Committee at which the amendment is to be considered.
“The Secretary for Administration must then circulate the proposed amendment to the Provinces at least two months before the Central Committee meeting.
“None of these procedures were followed.
“However, rather oddly, immediately after Congress ratified these amendments it, proceeded to elect Mugabe as Party President (a post within the party’s Central Committee) in terms of the unamended Constitution and in terms of provisions which had but eight minutes previously been repealed.
“Accordingly, if the amendments are valid, Mugabe’s appointment cannot be, and vice versa.
“A further anomaly rose in that Mugabe’s appointment was made before the dissolution of the Central Committee which precedes the election of new members, including the Presidium, at each five year Congress.
“When the Central Committee was dissolved all members of the Presidium, including the just appointed Mugabe, technically lost their positions.
“In terms of the ZANU-PF Constitution all members of the Presidium of the Central Committee had to be reappointed after that body’s dissolution.
“There was no re-election of Robert Mugabe.
“Mugabe is thus not properly appointed as ZANU-PF President, either because he was not appointed in terms of the amended Party Constitution (if those amendments were valid) or because he lost his post when the Central Committee was dissolved.
“The two Party Vice-Presidents are likewise not validly appointed.
“This is either because the amended procedures in terms of which they were appointed (i.e. providing for appointment by Mugabe and not election by Congress as previously) are invalid or because they were appointed by a person who had no authority to do so – i.e. by Mugabe who had himself not been properly appointed as Party President.
“It is also a requirement of the ZANU PF Constitution that there be a National Chairman who has numerous functions in terms of the party’s Charter.
“It is not open to Mugabe to simply unilaterally amend the Party Constitution to do away with this post, as he claimed to do.
“As a result, none of the ZANU PF Presidium has been properly appointed and these appointments are legally void.
“This is largely a matter for ZANU PF. However, should it become necessary for ZANU-PF to nominate a replacement for Zimbabwe’s State President, the party may claim to do so in terms of provisions of its Constitution which are clearly invalid and which have not been properly introduced.
“This will render the succession process messy, subject to legal challenge and will have a destabilising effect upon the country.”
Ed: Constitutional and legal experts, what do you say? As RAU argues this is not a ZANU-PF issue but a national issue