At least three provinces have so far endorsed Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa as the party’s sole candidate for the 2023 presidential election amid severe food shortages and debilitating hyperinflation that has forced some people to live from hand to mouth.
Zanu PF secretary for administration, Obert Mpofu, says more provinces are expected to endorse Mnangagwa ahead of the non-elective Annual People’s Conference set for next week in Goromonzi, Mashonaland East province.
He believes that all provinces want Mnangagwa to contest the presidential election even if they have not yet made public announcements about the issue.
“Most provinces have endorsed his candidature in 2023 and even the few that are remaining are definitely going to endorse him because he has proved to us that he is a listening president, he’s a president who understands, listens to the challenges and issues raised by the people. We also want to give him some time to settle down in leadership. We have had a lot of entanglements in our administration of the country and these are from the opposition, you know, they have been court challenges (presidential election), disputes over legitimacy, you know, lots of things.
We want to give him more time to run this country as he has proven to us as the party as well as the leader of the governing party that he wants things to be done for the betterment of the people.”
Mpofu says Bulawayo overwhelmingly endorsed Mnangagwa’s candidacy Sunday in the city, three years before the country holds harmonized elections.
“We held a meeting in Bulawayo today (Sunday) where people from all organs of the party endorsed him as the party’s candidate for the 2023 election.”
Other provinces that have endorsed Mnangagwa are Matabeleland North and Matabeleland South.
On suggestions that the ruling party needs to focus on reviving the economy instead of regional endorsements of the president’s 2023 presidential candidacy, Mpofu said this is designed to inform people nationally and internationally that Mnangagwa is expected to lead the country for another five-year term and as a result they should plan accordingly.
“The issue of the economy is an issue that we need to address and it can only be addressed under his leadership.”
Mpofu says Mnangagwa understands and listens to the concerns of the people of Zimbabwe and a result he deserves to rule the country for another five-year term of office.
Independent political observers have dismissed the move as mere politicking designed to distract the nation from serious economic problems bedeviling the southern African nation. Mnangagwa succeeded the late former president Robert Mugabe following a defacto military coup in 2017.
The opposition Movement for Democratic Change led by Nelson Chamisa has refused to recognize Mnangagwa as the country’s president, claiming that he stole the people’s vote in 2018 in conjunction with the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC).
The president and ZEC have dismissed these allegations, noting that the Zimbabwe Electoral Court endorsed the outcome of the presidential election.
Independent political analyst Michael Ndiweni says Zanu PF should focus on reviving the country’s disintegrating economy instead of endorsing Mnangagwa for the 2023 presidential election.
“Now what is going to happen is that in the party Zanu PF people will start fighting for positions, jostling for who is the loudest cheerer who can sing the loudest in this case. So, for me it shows that they are not really concerned about the plight of Zimbabweans as we are suffering right now but they are concerned about power consolidation.”
Zanu PF has ruled Zimbabwe for more than 19 years since the country attained independence from British rule in 1980.