National People’s Party (NPP) interim leader Joice Mujuru will go to the party’s inaugural convention slated for early next month unchallenged, while six candidates will battle for the two slots reserved for the former Vice-President’s deputies.
BY Everson Mushava
Last Monday was the cut-off date for submissions of nominations from members aspiring to contest for the opposition party’s top six positions.
The NPP is currently run by an interim administration headed by Mujuru and is set to choose substantive leaders ahead of the 2018 general elections.
Mujuru “rebranded” her group into NPP after a row with ex-allies-cum-adversaries Rugare Gumbo and Didymus Mutasa, leaving the two to share the leadership of the Zimbabwe People First party.
A list seen by NewsDay showed Mujuru was unchallenged, but six people were set to battle it out to become her two deputies, three have been nominated for national chairman, five for secretary-general and three for treasurer.
Career ambassador John Mvundura (74), who is the interim secretary for foreign affairs and retired soldier Elliot Kasu (55), who currently leads the party’s war veterans arm will battle for the position of first vice-president, while ex-Cabinet minister Samuel Sipepa Nkomo (77), Cuthbert Ncube (42), Linda Dube (55) and Bongani Nyathi, will battle for the position of second vice-president.
Former Energy minister Dzikamai Mavhaire, who is secretary for mobilisation will battle it out with Bancinyane Wilson and Maduma Bekezela for party national chairperson post.
Nelson Mashizha, Hamadziripi Dube, Mujuru’s spokesperson Gift Nyandoro, former Mbire MP David Butau and lawyer Petronella Musarurwa are eyeing the secretary-general position.
Engineer and banker Wilbert Mubaiwa, Nkuta Bukhosi and Ndou Moffat will battle for treasurer-general position.
However, NPP members who spoke to NewsDay on condition of anonymity said they were concerned that the front runners in deputising Mujuru were older than the party leader, which would threaten succession plans and throw the party into the Zanu PF succession melodrama.
“Look at Mvundura and Nkomo, they are above 70. If Mujuru wins next year, Nkomo will be 88 when she finishes her two terms and Mvundura 85. They won’t be able to take over. There is need to have younger blood, who can be groomed to take over for continuity,” a senior party member said, arguing there was need for an age limit for contestants.
Party spokesperson Jealousy Mawarire could neither deny nor confirm the authenticity of the list, but said his party would not discriminate people on any basis including age.
“We can’t have a party that discriminates against the youths, the elderly or women. Our people should be allowed to choose their leaders freely, if they decide that they want to be led by the aged, that is their choice and as democrats, we will respect their will,” Mawarire said.