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Zimbabwe President Underfire Amidst VP, Politburo Dilemma

Zimbabwe Defence Forces Day

Zimbabwe’s ruling ZANU-PF party is operating without its decision making body, the Politburo, as the country’s President, Robert Mugabe, ponders who to appoint as his two vice presidents, national chairperson, and two secretaries.

In explaining the delayed appointments, which legal analysts have called a violation of Section 40 of the party’s constitution, Mr. Mugabe said he wanted to vet the newly elected members of the central committee, from where the 30-members of the Politburo would be selected, to avoid what he has described as betrayal by his Vice President, Joice Mujuru.

Some in Zanu-PF dismiss the allegations of constitutional violations, referring to Section 37 of the party’s constitution, which give Mr. Mugabe leeway to pick his Politburo after the Congress.

Newly elected member of the central committee and deputy information minister Supa Mandiwanzira, said Mr. Mugabe’s decision to hold the announcement, is nothing new.

“It has happened before at various Congresses, where he has taken the time to study the people or the CVs [Curriculum Vitae] of the people who would have been nominated, into the central committee before he can appoint, his Politburo.”

President Robert Mugabe swearing in ministers
President Robert Mugabe swearing in ministers

Chief Musarurwa of Mashonaland East Province, also defended the delayed announcement, citing the allegations of plotting to oust him or creating factions within the party, being labelled against Mrs. Mujuru. He said as a result of this, Mr. Mugabe must pick his deputies carefully.

“The president had done a good thing,” said Chief Musarurwa, adding that it gives the president time to, “see whether this person can move together with him.”

Those challenging this, however, including National Constitutional Assembly leader and University of Zimbabwe law professor, Lovemore Madhuku, contend it is a violation, and further accuse the president of running the country like a fiefdom, as only he and wife, Grace Mugabe (who was endorsed as leader of the women’s league, Saturday), hold secured positions.

“Zanu-PF will write rules on paper, they’ll have a constitution beautifully put together, but they never follow the constitution, they never follow rules,” said Madhuku.

President Mugabe’s sharp wit and appearance have come under close scrutiny of late, as many note his various slips of the tongue, including the recent one at the Saturday Congress, where he stunned delegates by declaring, “pasi neZanu,” or down with Zanu, instead of MDC or Movement for Democratic Change, before correcting himself with help from his supporters.

Professor Madhuku concludes that President Mugabe, is “quite old and tired.” He adds that his inability to select members of the Politburo indicates his loss of control. “He’s no longer having the capacity to run anything. He’s not having the capacity to run the country, he cannot run Zanu-PF.”

As the country awaits President Mugabe’s announcement of his top officials, which he said he’ll make before the end of the week, many are curious about the fate of his deputy, Mrs. Mujuru, who has not been formally fired or asked to resign by the president, despite being pressured to do so by many including Mrs. Mugabe.

Professor Madhuku said under the current circumstances, Mrs. Mujuru’s options are obvious.

“She should resign, that’s what should happen.” Madhuku further explains that Mujuru no longer has a mandate to hold on to the position.

“The source of Vice President Mujuru’s authority is either Zanu-PF or President Mugabe. She’s no longer the vice president of Zanu-PF, she no longer has the confidence of President Mugabe.”

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