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HARARE-- Zimbabwe's ruling Zanu PF party has assigned several party stalwarts to lead at least 11 of its departments on a full time basis as the party, which has governed the country since independence from Britain in 1980, begins a rebuilding exercise aimed at further strengthening itself.

Party spokesperson Simon Khaya-Moyo told the media after an extra-ordinary session of the party's Politburo here Monday that the changes were aimed at ensuring that the party remained strong going into the future.

The Politburo has resolved that Zanu PF transforms and positions itself in the rapidly changing socio-economic and political environment by ensuring that 11 departments here at headquarters henceforth are

manned full-time by senior party stalwarts who are, in terms of the party's Constitution, heads or secretaries of these departments, he said.

The individuals, the majority of them former Cabinet Ministers, include secretary for administration Obert Mpofu, secretary for finance Patrick Chinamasa, secretary for Information and Publicity Khaya Moyo and

secretary for external relations Simbarashe Mumbengegwi.

Others also re-deployed to the party include secretary for the commissariat, Lt-Gen (Ret) Albert Rugeje, secretary for economic affairs Chris Mushohwe and secretary for legal affairs Paul Mangwana. The Politburo also elevated Lewis Mathuthu to head the Youth League, while the War Veterans department will now be headed by Douglas Mahiya.

New heads for the national security and the women's affairs departments will be announced in due course.