President Robert Mugabe is expected to call a special Zanu-PF congress this year to elect a new vice president to replace the late John Nkomo.
Political analysts told VOA Studio 7 that historically, party hierarchy would determine the next in line, but this year - with divisions widening among Zanu-PF members - the selection may not be so clear.
According to the party hierachy, national chairman Simon Khaya Moyo is next in line to succeed Nkomo, who succumbed to cancer last week.
However, there are a handful of other party leaders who are eyeing the post. These include Mines Minister Obert Mpofu and Co-Home Affairs Minister Kembo Mohadi, among others.
Since the signing of the Unity Accord in 1987, Zanu-PF has always reserved one of its vice presidenial posts to members of the former PF-Zapu once led by the late Vice President Joshua Nkomo before his party merged with President Mugabe's party..
Zanu-PF spokesman Rugare Gumbo told reporters in Harare on Wedneday that because the next regular party congress will not be held until December, the president may call a special congress.
“That decision (electing leaders) is usually a preserve of the congress where appointments are made. On this one, we cannot tell yet what criteria will be used. It is the prerogative of the president and the presidium to decide whether we wait for the congress,” said Gumbo.
Political commentator and lecturer at Westminster University, Brilliant Mhlanga, said Zanu-PF’s line of succession is clear, the party is being more cautious with national elections ahead.