Zanu (PF)Masvingo province says it wants National Chair Ambassador Simon Khaya Moyo elevated to the post of Second Vice President, and Secretary for Administration Didymus Mutasa to be the next National Chair come the ruling party’s Congress in December.
The proposed line-up sets Masvingo on a collision course with party stalwarts who maintain the sanctity of the 1987 Unity Accord between Zanu (PF) and PF-Zapu should not be breached and that the National Chair and one VP post are “reserved” for ex-Zapu members.
VP Mujuru holds the other VP post at party and State level.
This will not be the first time Mutasa has been associated with the National Chairmanship. In 2009 he lost out to Ambassador Khaya Moyo and Zanu (PF) Manicaland chair Cde Basil Nyabadza resigned as a consequence of the fallout of that ill-fated bid.
Now Masvingo has thrown the cat among the pigeons by declaring Cde Mutasa and Ambassador Khaya Moyo must be elevated, and the Secretary for Administration has said he is ready to take up any office he is nominated for.
Other provinces last week would not state their preferred Presidium line-up.
But Zanu (PF) Masvingo provincial chair Brigadier-General (Retired) Killian Gwanetsa said: “Why would we want to change a winning team? This is the very team that took us from the doldrums of an inclusive Government and we are certain that they are doing a splendid job. As a province we are strongly behind the leadership of President Mugabe along with his second-in-command, Amai Mujuru.
“For the post of Second Vice President we prefer to have our National Chairman taking over while Mutasa should be elevated to the National Chairmanship post.”
Matabeleland South chair Cde Andrew Langa said they had endorsed President Mugabe and VP Mujuru to retain their positions, while candidates for the Second VP and National Chair posts would be decided on later.
“My province remains clear in its support for His Excellency, President Mugabe, and Amai Mujuru to retain their posts at Congress. But for the other posts, we will do so when the time comes,” he said.
In Matabeleland North, the battle for the Second VP post is delicately balanced with the province yet to decide between ambassadors Khaya Moyo and Phelekezela Mphoko.
Provincial chair Richard Moyo told The Sunday Mail that they were yet to achieve consensus but acknowledged that the two were interested in the post.
Mashonaland West chair Temba Mliswa said: “We will meet as a bloc to decide on that.”
Manicaland chair Ambassador John Shumba Mvundura said their decision was pending, a position also stated by Bulawayo chair Callistus Ndlovu who said; “We have not yet sat to choose candidates for the Presidium but modalities are underway to ensure that the process is started.”
Mashonaland Central officials said they would stand guided by the decision made by the Matabeleland provinces.
Since 1987, the second VP post, the National Chair and the Cabinet Minister of Home Affairs have been former PF-Zapu cadres.
Consequently, Mutasa’s nomination could torch a storm.
VP Joshua Nkomo served with Joseph Msika as the National Chair. When VP Nkomo died in 1999, Msika was elevated to VP and John Landa Nkomo became National Chair. Following Msika’s death in 2009, Landa Nkomo became VP and Khaya Moyo was elevated to National Chair.
However, following Nkomo’s death in January 2013, no Second VP has been appointed.
Khaya Moyo has been touted as a favourite to take over the Vice Presidency, though some argue other ex-Zapu cadres are more senior to him.
For instance, Zimbabwe’s Ambassador to South Africa Phelekezela Mphoko, Home Affairs Minister Kembo Mohadi and Brig (Rtd) Ambrose Mutinhiri are said to be potential VPs ahead of Ambassador Khaya Moyo.
Already, war veterans and war collaborators in Bulawayo have clashed over who should be VP.
Bulawayo war veterans’ chair Japhet Phuthi said they were behind Khaya Moyo and labelled other aspirants as renegades.
But Bulawayo war collaborators chair Christian Mabasa said that decision was made unilaterally and Phuthi had misled them that the meeting where that resolution was passed was a routine one.
“As ZILWAO, we abide by (party spokesperson) Rugare Gumbo’s statement that President Mugabe will have a final say on the issue. We want to make it categorically clear that we respect all our senior leaders. As a party affiliate, we support the party position, we don’t dictate to the party,” he said.
Back to Cde Mutasa, Zanu-PF insiders say the Secretary for Administration could face a strong challenge to his incumbency from current Women’s League boss Oppah Muchinguri.
Muchinguri has been campaigning for First Lady Grace Mugabe to take over the Women’s League raising the prospects that she will herself go for a higher post.
Sources say this means Mutasa will either fight it out with Muchinguri for the Secretary for Administration post, or will opt out of that battle and go for the Chair position.
Alternatively, some sources say, Muchinguri could aim for the Presidium, putting herself in line to either dislodge VP Mujuru — which insiders say is “unlikely” — or take the Second VP post and set herslef up against “traditionalists” who want an ex-Zapu member in that office.
Jockeying for posts is intensifying amid reports of factional fights ahead of the Congress.
President Mugabe has dressed down party leaders who have reportedly been splashing the cash to get support for their narrow ambitions, especially within the context of the recent Youth and Women’s leagues elections.
He described the politicians as “political prostitutes” and “rubbish”.