Regulations proposed by a ZANU PF committee, headed by the secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa, could create more divisions within the party as they seek to block the younger members from contesting in the primaries.
According to Newsday newspaper, the proposed regulations on primary elections would bar those members who have served the party for less than five consecutive years, from contesting. This would prevent many of the so-called "young turks" in the party from challenging the veterans in the primaries.
The proposed regulations are scheduled to be discussed at a meeting of the ZANU PF politburo on December 4th, according to Mutasa, speaking on ZBC. He said the regulations were "expected to be tabled before the politburo, and if adopted will then be made public and the dates for the primary elections will be set."
The aspiring candidates planning to challenge the ZANU PF old guard include several provincial chairpersons who were recently re-admitted into the party. The group was accepted back in 2009 after being accused of plotting a revolt against Robert Mugabe, which became known as the Tsholotsho Declaration.
This group includes former information Minister Jonathan Moyo, Mike Madiro from Manicaland, Daniel Shumba from Masvingo, July Moyo from Midlands province and businessman Phillip Chiyangwa. Having served less than 5 years consecutively, they would be barred from standing in primaries if the proposed regulations are approved.
Blessing Vava from pressure group the Committee for the People's Charter (CPC), said: "ZANU PF has been a party of old madharas, a party that does not uphold democratic principles. It is a party known to impose candidates who are not popular with the electorate. This is why they lost the last election."
He added: "This also shows the greediness of these old guys. They have no clear agenda of what they want to do for the people. All they are interested in is self-perpetuation in power and further accumulation of resources. This is why they don't want to lose power. They would die in office."
The proposals have raised many questions about the old guard's intentions, not only within ZANU PF, but in the context of Zimbabwe in general. Some observers have warned that this signals a desire by the veterans to keep a strong eternal grip on power, a prospect the MDC formations should seriously consider.