Expelled ruling Zanu-PF former spokesman, Rugare Gumbo, has blasted President Robert Mugabe for negating the principles of the party by seeking to amend its constitution to give himself powers to single handedly appoint party leaders.
The amendments are seen by allies of under fire Vice President Joice Mujuru as unconstitutional measures to purge them.
The party Central Committee was locked in a meeting Wednesday evening in Harare to amend the Zanu PF constitution. But Gumbo, who was first suspended for five years and has now been expelled, joined former war veterans leader, Jabulani Sibanda, in the political wilderness.
Party national chairman, Simon Khaya Moyo, who is now doubling as the party spokesperson, made the announcement after the Central Committee meeting in Harare that the decision to expel Gumbo was arrived at during the meeting.
Gumbo, who was interviewed before the latest developments, told VOA Studio 7 that the move to amend the constitution is against the party principles and is one of the reasons he fell out of favor with Mugabe as he vehemently opposed it.
“It is undemocratic, it negates the values of Zanu-PF… even during the liberation war we had bi-annual conferences, people always elected their leaders… nowhere did people appoint leaders, it’s unheard of, and it’s un-Zanu-PF”.
Gumbo said the developments in the party are an indication that there is a leadership crisis in Zanu-PF.
If the constitution is amended at the congress it will give President Mugabe powers to nominate those who go into the presidium.
The presidium is comprised of the president, his two deputies and the party chairman.
In the current Zanu-PF constitution the Provincial Co-ordinating Committees nominate candidates for election to the Zanu-PF presidium. Section 253 of the Zanu-PF constitution vests the power to amend the constitution in the Central Committee, subject to ratification by the congress.
Section 253 subsection 4 of the constitution says the proposed amendments shall “be submitted to the secretary for administration at least three months before the date of the meeting of the Central Committee.”
But those backing vice president Mujuru contend that the amendments are being fast-tracked without following the constitution. Lawyers backing Mr. Mugabe say amendments can be fast-tracked.
The composition of central committee Wednesday is being challenged by some chairperson, who have been ousted from the party.
Suspended Mashonaland West chairman Temba Mliswa told the weekly Zimbabwe Independent newspaper that their suspension was unconstitutional citing the general provisions of article 29(251), on who has the power to pass a vote of no confidence on office bearers.
The constitution reads: “A motion of no confidence shall be by a simple majority of all members of the appropriate organ.” Mliswa says this was violated because war veterans, youths and office bearers, who do not constitute the provincial executive, were illegally used to boot out some officials.
The International Crisis Group says Zimbabwe’s growing instability is exacerbated by dire economic decline, endemic governance failures, and tensions over ruling party succession; without major political and economic reforms warning that the country “could slide into being a failed state.”