ZANU PF VP race hots up

THE contest for the second Vice-President’s post in Zanu-PF is likely to be a three horse-race between incumbent National Chair, Simon Khaya Moyo, Home Affairs Minister, Kembo Mohadi, and Zimbabwe’s former Ambassador to South Africa, Phelekezela Mphoko.

Aspiring office holders will soon submit their curriculum vitaes at provincial conferences ahead of the elective Congress in December.

Zanu-PF spokesman Rugare Gumbo said, “We are still working on the dates for the (provincial) conferences . . . we shall give you the dates . . . but certainly, the CVs will be accepted at the conferences.”

The biggest battles are likely to be for the vacant VP post and that of National Chair.

In line with the 1987 Unity Accord, Zanu-PF is likely to reserve one VP post for a former PF-Zapu cadre, setting the stage for a tough contest between Matabeleland’s political heavyweights.

Mphoko told our Harare Bureau that he was touching up his CV for submission.

“I qualify and I will submit my CV. I was in the high command during the war, we encouraged people to go to war; we trained people, we led the battle front . . .

“So, becoming a Vice-President is a responsibility which is equal to what I was mandated during the liberation struggle. I look at the post as a challenge, not just for prestige.

“We can’t abandon the people we fought for during the war, I have to finish what I started and I am ready for the challenge. My focus is on the whole of Zimbabwe, not just Matabeleland,” said Mphoko.

While confirming that he is up for the VP’s post, Mohadi said he would not campaign until the “right time comes”.

Khaya Moyo was tight-lipped on his ambitions to be elevated.

“I cannot discuss that issue now . . . I can’t comment,” he said.

This comes after last week’s Politburo meeting where President Mugabe warned party officials who were prematurely campaigning for positions.

If Khaya Moyo leaves his National Chair post by elevation or otherwise, there will also be a bruising battle to fill that senior position.

Indications thus far are that secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa, secretary for economic affairs Obert Mpofu, and Central Committee member Ambrose Mutinhiri are interested in becoming National Chair.

One provincial chair, Calisto Gwanetsa (Masvingo), has publicly voiced his support for Mutasa.

There has been a perception that certain posts in Zanu-PF’s leadership are “reserved” for former PF-Zapu members.

However, Politburo member Professor Jonathan Moyo has said: “The actual position is that the post of President and First Secretary was and is not reserved for either former Zanu or former Zapu but is open to be filled by the best candidate from either side.

“On the posts of the two Vice Presidents and Second Secretaries, the fact of having a provision for two vice-presidents meant that they could not be both from one side. Like that of the President and First Secretary, the post of National Chairman was as it still is open to be filled by the best candidate and not reserved for either side.”

He said previous National Chairs – the late VPs Joseph Msika and John Landa Nkomo – held the post because of merit and not because they were former PF-Zapu.

“The same goes for President Mugabe. He has filled the post of President and First Secretary of Zanu-PF not because the post is reserved for former Zanu but because he is the best to fill the post on the basis of his leadership in the nationalist movement, liberation struggle and Government since our independence on the basis of the electoral mandate he has received in accordance with our constitution.”

This position has reportedly been gaining currency and some party stalwarts believe the National Chair should be anyone representing Matabeleland region.

Their argument goes further to state that at some point, all former PF-Zapu members will pass on but the post will still need to be filled.

Sources say such a position is designed to prop the interests of the likes of Mpofu, who was not a PF-Zapu member at the time the Unity Accord was signed.

Last week, Mpofu would neither confirm nor deny his interest in the chairmanship.

“I have never said anything about my interests in assuming or contesting for the  post. . . all I can say is that I will stand guided by the party and I don’t want people speaking for me. The party is greater, so let’s wait for the proper guidelines,” he said.

On “reserving” positions, he said “only Zanu-PF sets the rules and regulations regarding the top posts”.
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