The ruling Zanu PF and the main opposition MDC have set up Councils of Elders to pacify the old guard after the two parties undertook restructuring exercises following the change of leadership in both parties.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa last month announced that his party is going to set up a Council of Elders within his ruling party Zanu PF structure.
Addressing a Zanu PF central committee meeting last month, Mnangagwa said the politburo was seized with the matter.
“We are going to establish a league of veterans and Council of Elders in the party and we are discussing in the party within the politburo structure. We want discipline, unity in the party and to shun divisive elements and those who want to put the name of the party into disrepute,” Mnangagwa said.
Zanu PF is yet to name the senior party members who will be in the council. However, the party seconded its senior members to party headquarters after they could not be accommodated in Cabinet.
Some of the former ministers deployed to party headquarters include Obert Mpofu, Patrick Chinamasa, Simon Khaya Moyo, David Parirenyatwa and Mike Bimha. Zanu PF has been undergoing changes since the late former President Robert Mugabe was forced to resign in November 2017. This saw the expulsion of members linked to the vanquished G40.
The opposition MDC has also set up a Council of Elders compromising of senior party members who worked with the late Morgan Tsvangirai in forming the opposition party two decades ago. Some of the members in the council of elders include Ian Makone, Cephas Makuyana, James Makore and Pearson Mungofa.
The Council of Elders is headed by former Highfield legislator, Mungofa. MDC spokesperson Daniel Molokele said the council will advise Chamisa on political matters.
“The party will be getting advice from the panel of elders who have vast experience in the political matters as most of them are the founding members of the party and have the knowledge in the political history of the party. No one is being sidelined in the party,” Molokele said.
Mungofa said: “We are still in the structures of the party, and we are going to be working with other party members providing them with advice whenever it is required.”
Political analyst and University of Zimbabwe lecturer, Eldred Masunungure, said the setting of the panel of elders in Zanu PF and MDC parties has been necessitated by the need to pacify the senior party members who feel being excluded in the affairs of their respective parties.
“There are politicians in Zanu PF and MDC who feel that they are being sidelined in the new administration of President Mnangagwa in Zanu PF and also in MDC under Nelson Chamisa. The two leaders have realised that there is need to tap on the experience of those politicians and also to pacify them. It is a good political strategy by Zanu PF and MDC,” Masunungure said