News and Information

Mugabe moves to quell internal squabbling
January 11, 2005
Harare - Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has moved to heal a rift within his ruling Zanu-PF party over the selection of candidates for a general parliamentary election due in March, state media reported on Tuesday.

Political analysts say wrangling within the governing party - linked to the issue of Mugabe's successor - could work to the advantage of the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

Mugabe addressed scores of angry supporters protesting on Monday at what they called the imposition of candidates for the parliamentary elections, the official Herald newspaper said.

"Comrade Mugabe said he was surprised to see the demonstrators yet the process to select the party's candidates for the primary elections had not been concluded," it said.


'The party is not dead; it is standing strong'
Mugabe, in power for a quarter of a century, told party members at the protest at Zanu-PF headquarters they needed to be united and understanding to come up with winning candidates.

"The party is not dead; it is standing strong. Are you aware that such thinking pleases the MDC," it quoted Mugabe as reacting to placards saying Zanu-PF was disintegrating.

No date has yet been set for the March elections.

More than a dozen officials have been purged from the ruling party's top bodies and as election candidates, after a row about Mugabe's likely successor on his expected retirement in 2008.

Former information minister Jonathan Moyo and several party colleagues have appealed for Zanu-PF to reverse a decision which stops them from contesting the parliamentary elections.

High Court was ready to hear an appeal by MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai
Moyo, who has spearheaded the government's political campaign over the past five years, was implicated in a secret meeting of party officials to promote their candidate as one of Zimbabwe's two vice presidents - against Joyce Mujuru, who was appointed under a Zanu-PF drive to boost the role of women.

The ruling party is to make a final decision on January 15 on its candidates for the March poll, which the MDC has threatened to boycott unless electoral reforms are made to ensure fairness.

State television on Tuesday quoted the chief judge, Godfrey Chidyausiku, as saying the High Court was ready to hear an appeal by MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai against Mugabe's victory in a 2002 presidential election, but that the case was being hindered by preliminary legal wrangling between both parties.

Several MDC officials have also lodged court challenges to their defeat in 2000 parliamentary elections the opposition charges were rigged by Zanu-PF.

The ruling party insists it won fairly in both polls, and dismisses the MDC as a puppet of former colonial power Britain, which it says has led a campaign to sabotage Zimbabwe's economy over Mugabe's seizure of white-owned farms for blacks.


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