ZANU PF is mulling over a special congress which is expected to fill vacant top positions and decide once and for all the succession of President Mugabe, sources have said.
Report by Patrice Makova
Details of the congress remain a closely guarded secret, only known to very senior party officials.
According to sources in the party, the current restructuring of provinces was in preparation for the special congress which will be held either just before or after elections.
A politburo member said the party was aware that Mugabe would not live forever and there was a need to eventually prepare for a successor.
The congress is also expected to elevate national chairman, Simon Khaya-Moyo to vice-President following the death of VP John Nkomo in January this year.
“Apart from elevating SK [Moyo], this special congress will clearly spell out that in the event that Mugabe retires or is incapacitated, the top officials are automatically elevated. This will mean that vice-President Mujuru will be Mugabe’s successor by virtue of her current seniority,” said the official.
But a senior government official close to Zanu PF said a faction loyal to defence minister, Emmerson Mnangagwa was not happy with the current restructuring and the agenda of the proposed special congress.
He said the faction felt that provincial executives perceived to be loyal to Mnangagwa were being unfairly targeted in order to appoint officials sympathetic to the Mujuru faction.
“The current restructuring exercise is about positioning people who will vote for a certain position come the special congress,” said the official.
He said while the faction loyal to Mnangagwa wanted Mugabe to remain in power, the one faithful to Mujuru was eager to see the 89-year-old head of state retiring.
However, the government official said the Mnangagwa faction had the advantage that it was supported by service chiefs who also wanted Mugabe to remain in power.
“It is not that they [service chiefs] like Mnangagwa, but to them he can protect their political and business interests,” he said, adding that some in the party
were also not comfortable with Mujuru because of her perceived straight talk and her potential to be acceptable to the international community and other political
The Zanu PF probe team led by SK Moyo descended on Masvingo on Friday, where the Lovemore Matuke executive came under scrutiny. The Masvingo executive is perceived to be loyal to Mnangagwa.
Moyo last night told The Standard that the visits to provinces were not for witchhunting and had nothing to do with a special congress, but to prepare the party for the forthcoming elections.
He said the probe in Masvingo was largely caused by an “unnecessary” clash between the two formers governors, Josaya Hungwe and Dzikamai Mavhaire over who was the
most senior leader in the province following the death of foreign affairs minister, Stan Mudenge.
Moyo said the meeting which lasted 13 hours was told in no uncertain terms by national secretary for administration, Didymus Mutasa and national commissar,
Webster Shamu that Mavhaire was the most senior member in the province as secretary for production in the politburo, while Hungwe was a mere committee member.
Hungwe is perceived to be loyal to Mnangagwa while Mavhaire is said to be loyal to the Mujuru faction.
“The meeting was frank and we encouraged the warring parties to unite. I am glad that our mission was a resounding success and the next stop is Mashonaland central on Monday,” he said.
Moyo said the Masvingo meeting was attended by politburo, central committee and national consultative assembly members, as well as war veterans.
Zanu PF is currently riddled with factionalism with two factions loyal to Mujuru and Mnangagwa positioning themselves for Mugabe’s succession. Both Mujuru and
Mnangagwa have denied leading factions or harbouring presidential ambitions. But Mugabe admitted at the Zanu PF national people’s conference in Gweru in December last year that indeed the two factions existed.
Zanu PF spokesperson, Rugare Gumbo, and Mutasa could not be reached for comment yesterday.
Manicaland, Bulawayo reorganised
The restructuring exercise has so far seen the dissolution of the Bulawayo provincial executive led by Killian Sibanda, which was replaced by the one chaired by Callistus Ndlovu. The exercise has also seen the dissolution of the Manicaland provincial executive led by suspended chairman, Mike Madiro and his deputy Dorothy Mabika.
The two, who are said to be linked to Mnangagwa, were replaced by Zimbabwe ambassador to Cuba, John Mvundura and former provincial governor, retired lieutenant general Mike Nyambuya.