ZIMBABWE – Zimbabwe’s ruling ZANU PF party has revealed changes to its internal constitution in an attempt to end uncertainty over replacing the country’s 91-year-old ruler, Robert Mugabe.
According to Section 26(2) of the new ZANU PF constitution, revealed ahead of a December party conference, an extraordinary session of congress may be convened “in the event of a vacancy occurring in the Office of National President requiring the party to nominate a successor, at the instance of the secretary for administration”.
For 35 years ZANU PF held its elective congress once every five years and Mugabe, as national president and the party’s first secretary, has always been unanimously elected.
The new amendment brings closure to a bitter succession battle that had gripped the nation, leading to speculation that the First Lady Grace Mugabe or Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa could succeed the elderly ruler.
Party constitution amendments are in compliance with the national constitution, which states that if the president resigns, is incapacitated or dies, the last acting president takes over for 90 days after which his party has to elect a successor for the remainder of the tenure.
Pupurai Togarepi, ZANU PF National Youth Secretary, said: “Yes, the amendment has been made, but this is not a new thing as it is already in the national constitution and what the party is doing is aligning both constitutions.”
President Mugabe has been leader of the party from 1977 and country’s leader from 1980 after independence, with some saying he intended to become president for life.