President Robert Mugabe developed cold feet and evaded appointing his two deputies at the highly charged Zanu PF 6th national people’s congress which ended yesterday in Harare.
BY ELIAS MAMBO
While giving an excuse that he still needed more time to acquaint himself to the new appointees to the central committee, Mugabe fell foul the newly amended Zanu PF constitution.
The constitution clearly stipulates that he should appoint politburo members and his deputies during the sitting of congress.
Article 8 section 40 of the Zanu PF constitution which deals with the appointments of members of the politburo and the deputy heads of departments states that: “Soon after the election of the president and first secretary and members of the central committee, the president and first secretary of the party shall, during the sitting of the congress, appoint from the newly elected central committee, two (2) vice presidents and second secretaries, the national chairperson, the heads of departments of the politburo, the committee members of the politburo and the deputies to the heads of department.”
“I could not rush to appoint the members of the politburo because I wanted time to acquaint myself to the new faces. Central committee will meet next week and by Thursday we will give you an announcement,” Mugabe said.
Pressure seemed to mount for Mugabe to appoint the secretaries, especially the vice presidents after the embattled Joice Mujuru absented herself for the fourth consecutive day of the 6th Zanu PF national people’s congress.
“Those who are not here have bid us good bye. We did not chase them but they chose to go their own ways,” he said.
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Mugabe has found himself in a fix over who to appoint as the two vice-presidents from a powerful list which includes Justice minister Emmerson Mnangagwa who seems to be a favourite, outgoing national chairperson Simon Khaya-Moyo, Home Affairs minister Kembo Mohadi, speaker of parliament Jacob Mudenda and outgoing women’s league boss Oppah Muchinguri among others.
There are some within Zanu PF who were also lobbying for First Lady, Grace Mugabe to become Mugabe’s deputy.
Mugabe also appointed 10 members to the central committee giving a new lease of life to a few Zanu PF bigwigs who had failed to be elected in their provinces.
Those appointed by Mugabe include Foreign Affairs minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi, Tourism minister Walter Mzembi and outgoing Youth leader Absalom Sikhosana. Former cabinet minister, Sikhanyiso Ndlovu and Charles Tawengwa also bounced back into the central committee courtesy of Mugabe as well as deputy Information minister Supa Mandiwanzira.
Mugabe promised to stand by a decision to nullify the Mashonaland East central committee elections after reports surfaced that the ousted Ray Kaukonde executive was illegally elected.
“We have received a note that the Mashonaland East list is wrong and that all the people who have been presented to us belong to the Ray Kaukonde executive,” Mugabe said.
“Go back to your province and sort this out. We want leaders who are voted by the people not imposed. Go and organise yourselves and provide us with a new list. It has to be before Wednesday because we want to choose members of the politburo,” Mugabe said.
The unilateral decision to dissolve the elected Mashonaland East Central committee members and the new provincial executive was a vote of no confidence on Defence minister Sydney Sekeramayi who heads the Zanu PF provincial coordinating committee.
Mugabe also alleged that Kaukonde, who is linked to Mujuru, was in hiding in South Africa. Mugabe recently accused Kaukonde of working with Mujuru to topple him from power using juju.
He sensationally claimed that Kaukonde went to a n’anga where he was told to look for two water beetles to use in the alleged plot to kill Mugabe using supernatural powers. Kaukonde could not be reached for comment.
Several Zanu PF bigwigs have been left in the cold after failing to get appointment into the central committee.
These include, former national secretary for commissariat Webster Shamu, former secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa, Labour minister, Nicholas Goche and Energy minister Dzikamai Mavhaire.
Mugabe said most of those bigwigs would become ordinary party members and would be monitored following allegations that they were part of the plot to remove him from power.