The supreme decision-making body of President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF party met in Harare on Thursday to establish guidelines for primary elections ahead of this year’s crucial election to end the shaky coalition government.
Primary elections have proved divisive and the politburo was expected to deal with rules and regulations of primaries and lay guidelines for party candidates for local government, parliament and senate elections.
VOA was unable to speak with Zanu PF spokesman Rugare Gumbo, but understands the politburo was also expected discuss possible dates that the party wants the national elections held.
Parties in the unity government have been criticized for coming up with regulations that protect sitting parliamentarians from being challenged by outsiders.
The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) formation of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has maintained the party will confirm current lawmakers, and those given confirmation will not have their seats contested.
Zanu PF though not clear on current parliamentarians, said members meeting party guidelines would be open to contest seats.
For perspective on the Zanu PF primaries, VOA reporter Tatenda Gumbo turned to Charles Mangongera, MDC-T director of policy and research, and Zanu PF parliamentary chief whip Joram Gumbo.
Gumbo said his party has a clear policy on primary elections which it is has maintained for years.
Mangongera challenged the Zanu PF stance on new leadership, saying the party was not open to allowing younger aspiring candidates to contest seats of the “old guard.”
Meanwhile, the MDC formation led by Industry Minister Welshman Ncube said it is processing applications from aspiring parliamentary, senate, and council candidates received from all constituencies and wards in the country, in preparation for the party’s primary elections at a date yet to be announced.
All the party’s 12 political provinces have since endorsed Mr. Ncube as its presidential candidate.
Party spokesman Nhlanhla Dube told VOA the party received overwhelming response from aspiring candidates throughout the country, and is using its constitution to fairly process the applications.