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Will Zanu PF Politburo Empower Mugabe to Appoint Presidium?

  • Gibbs Dube
  • Jonga Kandemiiri

FILE: Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe addresses supporters outside ZANU-PF headquarters, Harare, Oct. 30, 2014.

The Zanu PF Politburo, which is scheduled to meet Saturday, is expected to make proposals for constitutional changes that will empower President Robert Mugabe to appoint three members of the presidium, who include two vice presidents and the party chairman.

According to Zanu PF activists, almost all members of the party supporting a faction allegedly led by Justice Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa, have agreed to make these constitutional changes in order to fortify their grip on the party after nearly dumping the rival faction said to be led by beleaguered Vice President Joice Mujuru.

They say the Politburo will endorse the proposals that have been mooted by new provincial chairmen being catapulted to power through sidelining anyone said to be supporting Mrs. Mujuru, who is accused of being allegedly corrupt, incompetent and attempting to topple the president.

One of the deposed chairmen, Jason Machaya, told VOA Studio 7 that he has accepted the party’s decision to remove him from office.

First Lady Grace Mugabe has been leading the onslaught on the vice president with indications that the president will appoint people of his choice at the forthcoming December congress.

Some names being tossed around for nomination to the presidium include Mnangagwa, Matabeleland political heavyweights - Eunice Sandi Moyo and former diplomats Phelekezela Mphoko and Simon Khaya Moyo - Women’s League secretary Oppah Muchinguri and president of the Senate Ednah Madzongwe.

This comes at a time when Vice President Mujuru on Wednesday filed nomination papers for reelection, a move being labelled unconstitutional by the Mnangagwa faction.

According to state-controlled newspapers, the vice president was not supposed to file these papers as provincial chairpersons nominate party members for the two vice presidential posts and chairmanship.

The Mnangagwa faction claims that only Central Committee members apply for posts at elective congresses.

Party chairman Simon Khaya Moyo was not reachable for comment as he was not responding to calls on his mobile phone.

But political analyst Ibbo Mandaza of the Southern African Political and Economic Series told VOA Studio 7 that Mr. Mugabe may leave the two posts of vice president vacant to avoid directly appointing a successor.

Political commentator and Zanu PF activist Morris Ngwenya disagreed, saying Mr. Mugabe will never leave those posts vacant.

For further perspective on the Zanu PF divisions, VOA Studio 7 reporter Tatenda Gumbo spoke to independent political analyst Blessing Vava and political analyst and lecturer at Huddersfield University in the United Kingdom, Nkululeko Sibanda.

Sibanda said the alleged Mujuru faction has failed to navigate the political arena.