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Pre-Congress Nomination Process Highlights Rivalries in Zimbabwe's ZANU-PF

  • Chris Gande
  • Gibbs Dube

Divisions in Zimbabwe's former ruling ZANU-PF party were revealed on the weekend as Masvingo province refused to nominate Vice President Joyce Mujuru for the post of party vice president, which she must retain if she is to continue as national vice president.

The Masvingo party structure instead backed Manicaland Governor Oppah Muchinguri.

Analysts said Muchinguri’s nomination reflected Masvingo’s alignment with Defense Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa, whose faction is vying for dominance with Mujuru’s.

Mujuru needs the support of one more province to reach the required six nominations.

Current ZANU-PF Chairman John Nkomo was well on track to claim the other vice presidency as he also has five nominations at this date.

Not surprisingly, all 10 ZANU-PF provinces have nominated President Robert Mugabe to continue as president of the party.

Nominations for the post of party chairman - which most assume will need to be filled if and when Nkomo is elevated to vice president - have been scattered among Home Affairs Minister Kembo Mohadi, Mines Minister Obert Mpofu, Ambassador to South Africa Simon Khaya Moyo and ZANU-PF Secretary for Administration Didymus Mutasa.

ZANU-PF House Whip Joram Gumbo told VOA Studio 7 reporter Chris Gande that the nomination process shows that ZANU-PF is a truly democratic party.

But Joy Mabenge, democracy and governance manager at the Institute for a Democratic Alternative for Zimbabwe in Johannesburg, said the scramble for top positions within ZANU-PF shows rather that the party is increasingly deeply divided.

Elsewhere, a clash between ZANU-PF and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change formation was shaping up in Parliament as ZANU-PF steps up efforts to block legislation to reform the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.

ZANU-PF sources said the party’s lawmakers will seek to block the bill, which was approved by the Cabinet and presented to Parliament last week by Finance Minister Tendai Biti – known to seek the replacement of RBZ Governor Gideon Gono. Among other aspects, the legislation would significantly curtail the powers of the central bank governor.

ZANU-PF maintains that the bill gives too much power to the finance minister.

Tsvangirai MDC Chief Whip Innocent Gonese told reporter Gibbs Dube that because the bill is backed by all three unity government parties it can readily be amended if necessary.

More reports from VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...

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