Harare — President Emmerson Mnangagwa has admitted his Zanu PF party's primary elections were rigged.
In rare frank talk by a Zanu PF leader, Mnangagwa told his party's central committee meeting in the capital Friday that he wanted to chart a new course henceforth.
"With regards to the recently held primary elections and our internal democratic process we were exposed to gross shortcomings within our party systems, cadre orientation and grounding.
"The primary election process therefore brought to the fore conduct which is alien to the character and personality of our revolutionary party," said Mnangagwa.
Zanu PF has been accused of rigging national elections and in 2013 the opposition claimed the ruling party used an Israeli company to manipulate the results of the elections won by the former liberation movement with a landslide.
"This includes alleged vote buying, outright manipulation of party procedures, rules and regulations and disregard to the letter and spirit of the constitution of our party," said Mnangagwa.
"We noted with concern the unbridled ambition demonstrated by some cadres of the party who were prepared to win no matter the costs."
Mnangagwa promised to reform Zanu PF's internal systems including creating a new structure to run the affairs of the party full-time.
"Ours is a revolutionary party; things go according to the rules. We also recognise the need to modernize our party systems in general. While we cannot change the past, we must indeed learn from," he said.
He pleaded with his lieutenants to project a new face of the ruling party.
"Let the people see a new face of our party through our good deeds, language and positive energy as we inspire them towards a better tomorrow.
"In the new Zimbabwe everyone is free to campaign, to speak their mind and to express themselves, however they choose," he said adding Zanu PF should not be distracted "from our ultimate goal of of putting food in every Zimbabwean's plate."
While insisting that he wants to run a credible, free and fair poll next month despite opposition reservations, Mnangagwa said Zanu PF must commit to upholding the rights of the people.
"Meanwhile we should never turn a blind eye to serious violations of people's rights and interests.
"Let us as a leadership of the party commit to work for the satisfaction of the people and correct any of our practices that they are not happy about," said Mnangagwa to applause from party activists.