Zanu PF will conduct primary elections in February 2013. The primaries will allow party supporters to select the candidates they want to run in the general election scheduled for later in the year, according to Didymus Mutasa, party secretary for administration.
The primaries are expected to be contentious, with as many as 16 aspiring candidates vying for one constituency on the party ticket in some provinces.
Mr. Mutasa told the state-controlled Herald newspaper that Zanu PF must still draft ground rules, which will include specific criteria by which the candidates may be chosen. The criteria will reject, according to the report, candidates who are “not fit to represent the party.”
Political analyst Nkululeko Sibanda, lecturer at Huddersfield University in the UK, says primary elections are a welcome development as they safeguard internal party democracy, but said Zanu PF should have set ground rules for candidates before announcing the primaries.
Commenting on many candidates attempting to contest in a single constituency, Sibanda said: “It’s also an indication that within Zanu PF at the lower level, you have a certain level of competitiveness which should be viewed positively in the long run but it cannot because the Zanu PF leadership has created a ceiling - you can only challenge particular individuals and not certain individuals.”
The main political parties in the unity government are currently facing challenges in holding primary elections.
“Until we get democratic processes prevailing at the primary level, the country is not going to experience democracy,” Sibanda said.