Sunday, September 20, 2009

ZANU-PF Women's League Faces Deadlock at Conference

Deadlock at conference

By Fortious Nhambura and Sydney Kawadza

Elections to select a new Zanu-PF Women’s League executive ended early this morning following a deadlock that had to be resolved by secret ballot over who should occupy the posts of secretary for the commissariat and secretary for national security after Mashonaland East and Masvingo failed to agree on how the seats should be shared.

The deadlock was the culmination of tense leadership contests at the party’s Fifth Women’s League national conference.

Both provinces wanted to provide the secretary for the commissariat with Mashonaland East proffering Cde Olivia Muchena as its candidate, while Masvingo wanted Cde Shuvai Mahofa.

National chairman Cde John Nkomo then ordered Women’s League members to conduct a secret ballot but the results were not available late last night.

Normally, Zanu-PF conducts its elections through open acclamation and the decision to go into a secret ballot indicated the need for a more formal process to break the deadlock.

Cde Muchena won the poll and was declared the new secretary for the commissariat, leaving Cde Mahofa with the post of secretary for security.

The election delayed the conclusion of the conference, opened by President Mugabe on Thursday. The President is scheduled to close the conference this morning.

The Women’s League did not fill the posts of secretaries for gender and culture and for finance after delegates from Mashonaland West failed to agree among themselves on the two candidates they were asked to nominate for the positions.

Delegates from the province were divided between Cde Sabina Mugabe and Cde Sarah Mahoko for secretary for finance while the province nominated Cde Hilda Bhobho and Cde Bybit Tsomondo for the post of secretary for gender and culture.

At one point police had to be called in to restrain the factions that were quarrelling over who should fill which post.

Twice, national chairman Cde Nkomo had to call for order and threaten to evict the province from the conference as the delegates shouted each other down.

The province was given two weeks to settle its differences or risk losing the posts to another province.

"We will not allow one province to hold the whole conference at ransom.

"We will skip the posts for now so that you can go and sort yourselves out and come back with your representatives," said Cde Nkomo.

In a straightforward election, Cde Eunice Sandi was retained as the deputy secretary of the Women’s League.

The secretary of the league will be chosen at the national congress to be held in December.

Cde Oppah Muchunguri is the current leader of the league.

Cde Agnes Dete was elected secretary for external relations; Cde Thokozile Mathuthu came in as secretary for transport and welfare; while Cde Monica Mutsvangwa was elected secretary for information and publicity.

Cde Tambudzani Mohadi was elected secretary for legal and women’s rights with Cde Abigail Damasane being elected the secretary for production and labour.

The secretary for health and child welfare is Cde Lilian Zemura while Cde Judith Ncube is the secretary for land and resettlement.

Cde Dorothy Kadungure came into the executive as the secretary for education.

The post of secretary for science and technology was reserved for Harare, which was not represented at the conference because it is still to choose its provincial executive.

In an interview, Cde Muchinguri said the women had resolved among other things to seek 50-50 representation in all Government and party positions in line with Sadc and African Union resolutions on equal gender representation.

She reiterated that the league had unanimously agreed to endorse President Mugabe, who is also the party’s First Secretary, as Zanu-PF’s candidate for President in elections that will be held when the constitution-making process is complete.

"We also resolved to seek our own constitution as the women just like other sister parties in the region where the Women’s League is a semi-autonomous body that governs its operations but reports to the main wing.

"This will give us the freedom to hold our own elections without interference from the men. As an organ of the party there is a lot of influence from men, who tell our delegates to support one candidate and not the other," she said.

Cde Muchinguri said the women’s conference had resolved to support the constitution-making process but only if it was homegrown and funded, saying Western funding would negatively affect the outcome.

She, however, implored Government to make inputs available to women farmers in time so that they could produce food for their families and the nation.

UZ, ZDF partner in degree programme

Herald Reporter

THE National Defence College in Harare will now offer Bachelor of Science (Honours) Political Science and Master of Science in International Relations degrees in conjunction with the University of Zimbabwe.

The degrees will be administered and overseen by UZ staff.

Officially launching the degree programmes, UZ Vice Chancellor Professor Levi Nyagura said the normal enrolment criteria and qualifications would be observed and would be based on merit.

He said lessons begin next week Monday with an initial enrolment of 25 senior Zimbabwe Defence Forces officers.

ZDF Commander, General Consta-ntine Chiwenga thanked the UZ for its assistance and stressed that enrolment would not be based on rank within the force.

"The selection criteria to attend the programme are very strict. They are based on merit so as to preserve UZ standards. The officers will attend lectures at the National Defence College from 4-7pm," he said.

General Chiwenga said the UZ lecturers should not be afraid to teach factual political information.

"ZDF offers a very democratic environment for conducting lessons. While we were fighting with the Rwandese and Ugandans in the DRC we were also training some of them here. We would teach them our way of fighting but would also tell them that we would not spare them on the battlefield just because we were in the same class," he said.

Prof Nyagura said the senior officers would be treated like UZ students and would write the same examinations as UZ students. Among the pioneer students are General Chiwenga — who earlier this year was named best student in the Zimbabwe Open University MBA programme — ,the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Defence Mr Petros Machaya, Zimbabwe National Army Commander Lieutenant-General Phillip Sibanda, and senior Air Force of Zimbabwe officers.

Prof Nyagura said there would be a provision for suspension of studies for students going on external assignments.

"Suspension of studies should be done in writing and students would resume lectures upon their return," he said.

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