President Robert Mugabe

THE CAMPAIGN for the posts of Zanu PF’s second vice-president and chairperson has reached a crescendo amid indications President Robert Mugabe will have to play a tough balancing act ahead of the party’s December congress.


Zanu PF chairperson Simon Khaya Moyo had until recently looked an obvious choice for the VP’s post left vacant following the death of John Nkomo last year.

But a couple of dark horses have reportedly emerged to show their desire to challenge the late vice-president Joshua Nkomo’s confidant and former diplomat.

Zanu PF secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa’s renewed interest in the chairman’s post is also threatening to torpedo the Unity Accord with PF Zapu.

The chairman’s post has since 1987 been reserved for former PF Zapu members, but a growing lobby in the old Zanu PF is advocating that the status quo be abandoned.

Zanu PF insiders say Mugabe would have to intervene to save Moyo the blushes and also to curb Mutasa’s ambitions for the sake of the Unity Accord.

Former Zimbabwe ambassador to South Africa Phekezela Mpoko and Ambrose Mutinhiri’s names have been mentioned among Moyo’s potential challengers.

Mutinhiri has reportedly started lobbying for the post just as he did before Nkomo’s elevation, but yesterday he played down the jostling.

“At the moment my opinion on the matter is not important,” he said.

“As we go to the congress the people will speak on the person whom they want to fill the vacant position.”

However, Mutinhiri who is one of the remaining few top former Zipra commanders after Zapu leader Dumiso Dabengwa, was clear about who should be the next Zanu PF chairman in the event that Moyo is elevated.

“The position of chairman should be reserved for former PF-Zapu members. Precedence has been set and it should remain like that,” he said.

Mphoko who is reportedly gaining support in the Zanu PF structures in the region has said he would only talk about his ambitions when the “gates open”.

Zanu PF sources said Moyo’s apparent reluctance to protect the former PF Zapu turf by failing to cool off Mutasa’s unbridled ambitions could complicate his chances.

Moyo, believed to be an ally of Vice-President Joice Mujuru has refused to speak about Mutasa’s interest in the chairperson post.

“Khaya Moyo is siding with members of his faction at the expense of the unity accord,” a former PF Zapu member said.

The issue has also reportedly sucked in youth affairs secretary Absolom Sikhosana who wants to take over from Mutasa if he is voted national chairman.

“Sikhosana is also involved in the matrix. He is supporting Mutasa so that he is elevated to secretary of administration position,” the source said.

“This is a great disappointment on the part of these two leaders.”

According to reports, some former PF Zapu members sent former party secretary-general Cephas Msipa to talk to Mugabe about Mutasa’s interests.

Sikhosana, who is the oldest party youth chairperson in the country and the Sadc region at about 62 years, has been the Zanu PF youth chairperson for over a decade.

“Discussions on the future of Sikhosana have started and the general feeling is that he is ripe to be national chairman, so comrades are weighing that possibility of canvassing support for him.

“He has done a lot for the youths in this region,” the source said.

Sikhosana could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Meanwhile, political analysts yesterday dismissed Sikhosana’s bid describing him as a “lightweight with no punch”.

“He is fairly a lightweight with not much influence outside the youth wing, but he makes a good compromise candidate in the race when taking the Zanu PF factions matrix,” Bulawayo-based political analyst Dumisani Nkomo said.

“But the former Zapu member tag could work in his favour considering that there is that gentlemen’s Unity Accord agreement that the post is for former Zapu cadrés.

“However on a broader aspect, he is a lightweight if not a bantamweight,” Nkomo said.

Nkomo indicated that the youths canvasing for Sikhosana’s elevation could be selling him a dummy to eventually kick him out of the youth league that he has led despite his advanced age.

“That could be a ploy to kick him out of the youth league. The youths could have already identified their preferred candidate who falls within the youth bracket, so if Sikhosana were to stand for the post and lose, he cannot bounce back as youth leader,” Nkomo said.

Political analyst Earnest Mudzengi said Sikhosana was a dark horse who could surprise all and sundry to land the coveted post.

“He may as well qualify, but with the Zanu PF chairpersonship being hotly contested, he may well vie to remain where he is,” he said.

“It may be difficult considering that in Zanu PF it’s more about seniority and not popular or organised followership.

“As they say, it was only a gentlemen’s agreement and it may have been overtaken by other pressing intra-Zanu PF interests.”

The fight for positions in Zanu PF has always left the party on the verge of a split with the worst infighting having been in 2005 where at least six provincial chairpersons were suspended from the party for seeking to elevate Justice minister Emmerson Mnangagwa ahead of Mujuru.

Information, Media and Broadcasting Services minister Jonathan Moyo was accused of being the brains behind the revolt known as the Tsholotsho Declaration.



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