Some Zanu PF big names may fall by the wayside after the party yesterday maintained that there would be no sacred cows when it comes to abiding by the new elections guidelines.
Zanu PF on Friday announced a raft of election rules and regulations that will see members who have not served the party for 15 consecutive years being barred from contesting central committee and women's league positions ahead of the December elective congress.
The rules, announced by party legal affairs secretary and Justice minister Emmerson Mnangagwa, have been viewed by some members as a move by the party's old guard to remain in charge by barring newcomers and Young Turks aspiring to rise within structures ahead of the congress.
But Zanu PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo yesterday said the measures were not targeting anyone but would ensure that only members with the "right orientation" in the party would form national structures.
According to the new rules, members aspiring to get into the party's central committee and women's league were now required to have served in the party structures for a consecutive 15-year period, five of them in the provincial executive.
The new rules leave several Zanu PF officials and many sitting MPs in a quandary as some of them were previously suspended and or have not served the party for 15 consecutive years.
Zanu PF officials who spoke to The Standard yesterday said the new guidelines had been drawn along factional lines to effectively silence members of one of the factions.
While the new rules may affect both factions, the most affected, according to analysts, were loyalists of the faction linked to Mnangagwa.
A number of them were suspended in 2004 for participating in the infamous Tsholotsho meeting which was perceived as an attempt to stage a boardroom coup on the presidium against Mugabe's preferred choice of Joice Mujuru for Vice-President.
"The guidelines have been crafted along factional lines to silence the Mnangagwa camp," a Zanu PF insider said. Mnangagwa has denied leading any camp.
The guidelines were prepared by the National Election Directorate chaired by party national chairman, Simon Khaya-Moyo. Gumbo yesterday said the rules did not target anyone.
"We are not targeting anybody. We want bona fide members to form national structures. A person should have a proven record in the party. They should move from the cell, branch, district, province before they take up national positions," Gumbo said.
Politburo member, Jonathan Moyo, who is the Media, Information and Broadcasting Services minister, may find it tough to secure a central committee position. He was suspended in 2005 after contesting elections as an independent candidate and was only re-admitted in 2009. This means he does not meet the 15 years consecutive years' requirement.
This would also include several heavyweights suspended together with Moyo, among them former Manicaland provincial chairperson Mike Madiro, Daniel Shumba (Masvingo), speaker of Parliament Jacob Mudenda (Matabeleland North) and July Moyo (Midlands).
"These members are believed to be campaigning for Mnangagwa in provinces," the Zanu PF official said.
Others who would fail the test include Makonde MP Kindness Paradza and Marondera East constituency MP Isaac Gadzikwa who were readmitted into the party in 2012 after they stood for Simba Makoni's Mavambo/Kusile/Dawn (MKD) in the 2008 general elections.
Business Phillip Chiyangwa will also not meet the new criteria.
"The Mujuru faction thinks that Moyo has been a threat, even in the party's politburo," the official said.
The new rules announced ahead of the party's youth and women's league congresses to be held in Harare from August 7 to 10 and from August 20 to 23 respectively, would likely entrench factionalism, according to another party insider.
Khaya-Moyo on Friday said the rules were not a subject for negotiation as the "party had taken its position".
In order to qualify, members must also not have been subject to criminal conviction or insolvency. They should aslo not have been found guilty and convicted by the party's disciplinary committee during the past five years.
The move would also affect the youths; most of whom had only spent six months in the provincial structures before they were voted into national organs.
The five-year cap would see other aspiring candidates falling by the wayside while favouring others like Midlands' Edison Chakanyuka, Manicaland's Kudzi Chipanga, Mike Gava (Mashonaland West), John Mushayi (Mashonaland East) and Obert Mutasa (Mashonaland Central) who had been in the provincial and national structures for over five years.
Before the new guidelines, Chakanyuka was set to face stiff competition from Justice Mayor Wadyajena, Gokwe Nembudziya legislator who is nine months old in the Midlands provincial executive.