FIGHTS within Zanu PF have turned nasty amid reports that the different factions in the party are lobbying for the control of certain key ministries in order to use them in the battle to succeed 89-year-old President Robert Mugabe, it has emerged.
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Sources said fights were mainly on security ministries, after it emerged that Mugabe was likely to create new portfolios such as police and correctional services.
A Zanu PF official said the faction loyal to Vice-President Joice Mujuru was positioning its members for the proposed Ministry of Police and other strategic portfolios such as Defence and State Security.
The faction also wanted to control the ministries of Finance, Local Government and Mines. But the faction loyal to Defence minister Emmerson Mnangagwa was also eyeing the same portfolios.
“There are fears that if certain officials get the opportunity to control the ministry responsible for the police, they will use such portfolios to target certain individuals who crossed their paths in the past,” he said. “You will see officials being arrested on corruption charges, but all this will be about succession.”
The official said a certain section in Zanu PF wanted security chiefs, notably defence forces commander, Constantine Chiwenga and police commissioner-general, Augustine Chihuri to be retired soon.
He said their presence was considered too intimidating to any eventual successor of Mugabe.
“But what they do not know is that some of the juniors they are earmarking for these positions are even worse hardliners than Chiwenga and Chihuri,” he said.
Another official close to the party said the faction linked to Mnangagwa was not happy with the provision in the constitution which favours Mujuru.
In the event of Mugabe being incapacitated or dying in office, Mujuru takes over by virtue of being the first vice-president.
He said the faction wanted this section amended after recent reports suggesting that Mujuru was ready to take over from Mugabe touched a raw nerve in Zanu PF.
“These words attributed to the VP [Mujuru] were not taken kindly by the security chiefs. This is why there is this push to have this section amended to avoid suspicion by any future President that their deputies may have bad wishes for them,” said the official.
Zanu PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo could not comment on the issue saying the party was mourning the passing on of its politburo member and former cabinet minister, Kumbirai Kangai.
Meanwhile, the swearing in ceremony of MPs for the eighth parliament, which was slated for this Tuesday, has been postponed to September 3, due to the tight schedule this week, the Clerk of Parliament, Austin Zvoma said yesterday.
“Yesterday I advised news editors that we are ready for the swearing in of Members of Parliament, yes we remain ready but the date has shifted from what we had advised. The swearing in of members will take place on Tuesday the 3rd of September starting at 9 o’clock,” Zvoma said.
He told a press conference in Harare the decision came after an analysis of the national events that are going to take place this week that include the on-going United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) General Assembly.
“So that will see the president and other key people, a lot of the Members of Parliament being in Victoria Falls,” said Zvoma. “Before the members come back, they wait for the closing ceremony which will take place on Wednesday or Thursday by President Michael Sata of Zambia because they jointly hosted UNWTO.”
He said the ongoing Harare Agricultural Show, the burial of retired Air Commodore Mike Karakadzai and the late Zanu PF founder Enos Nkala, who died last week, had also affected their plans.
The Clerk of Parliament said the swearing in of parliamentarians would be immediately followed up by the election of the Speaker of the National Assembly and President of Senate.
“We have finalised preparations in consultation with Zimbabwe Electoral Commission because the election is done by secret ballot if there is more than one candidate for any of the positions,” he said.
Zanu PF won 160 seats out of the 210 National Assembly constituencies to gain a two-thirds majority. After factoring in 60 women’s quota seats elected by proportional representation, the final composition of the 270-member National Assembly comes to 197 seats for Zanu PF, 70 for MDC-T, two for MDC and one independent. In the Upper House, Zanu PF ended up with 37 Senators, MDC-T with 21 and MDC with two.