WASHINGTON DC —
Zanu PF’s provincial elections at the weekend may have consolidated Vice President Joice Mujuru’s position to succeed President Robert Mugabe as party leader ahead of her perceived rival Emmerson Mnangagwa, but some political analysts are warning the two factional leaders may not be done fighting yet.
All but one of the seven provincial chairpersons elected on Saturday are seen to be on the Mujuru faction which is locked in a bitter civil war with the Mnagagwa formation to take over from Mr. Mugabe.
The Mnangagwa formation reportedly got one. Three provincial elections conducted last month were won by the Mujuru wing, and that gives her a total of nine out of Zanu PF’s ten provinces.
Going by the Zanu PF constitution, Mrs. Mujuru should succeed President Mugabe, and statistically from the weekend result’s she should have an easy way ascending to Mr. Mugabe’s coveted throne in Zanu PF.
But not so fast, warns political commentator Nkululeko Sibanda of the Huddersfield University in Britain.
In a related development, the party’s secretary for administration, Didymus Mutasa, told the state-controlled Herald newspaper that President Mugabe has a constitutional right to represent Zanu-PF in the 2018 national elections after serving his current term.
Mutasa dismissed reports that the just-ended provincial elections were about Mugabe’s succession saying the president was elected for his first term under the new constitution in the July 31 harmonised elections and the constitution allows him to go for the second term.
He said, “How can you succeed someone who has just started serving his first term? We conduct provincial elections after every four years and then in the fifth year, we have Congress to elect the national leadership.
"The provincial elections are a constitutional requirement and not about succession as claimed by those (independent) papers. Tell those people who say the elections were about succession that Mutasa says; ‘let not your imaginations be so wild’.”
Mutasa said the president will be fit for re-election in the 2018 general polls. At that time the president will be 94 years old and critics have already ruled him out of the elections. But Mutasa dismissed such claims. “Does the Press determine his strength? Is it the press that has taken him this far? If you read in the Bible, there are some people who went beyond 100 years but still ruled. Why can’t it be repeated?” he said.