VOCAL war veteran Jabulani Phetshu Sibanda has warned ex-Zapu cadrés that they risk losing the Zanu PF national chairmanship’s post at the December elective congress if they don’t caucus on possible candidates.
The Zanu PF national chairperson’s position has been traditionally occupied by former Zapu members since the 1987 Unity Accord that brought together the two former rivals.
The incumbent Simon Khaya Moyo is set to be elevated to the vice-presidency, creating a vacancy, which Sibanda said could slip away from the former Zapu members should they remain mum on the issue.
Sibanda, the current Zanu PF secretary for lands in Matabeleland South, told Southern Eye yesterday that ex-Zipra cadrés should not waste time focusing on the VP post as it was “safely in Khaya Moyo’s hands”.
Khaya Moyo is considered the front-runner in the race by virtue of seniority and precedence.
“We are four months away from congress and there is silence on the chairman’s post,” Sibanda said.
“The talk is about the VP post. As a proud ex-Zapu/Zipra member, now in a united Zanu PF, this is worrying.
“The post of VP is not up for any discussion. A precedent was long set after the Unity Accord and death of VP Joshua Nkomo. There is a pattern that once you are national chair, your next port of call is the vice-presidency.
“We saw it with the death of (Joshua) Nkomo. The late (Joseph) Msika, who was national chair, was elevated to VP.
“That pattern followed with the death of Msika. John Nkomo who was national chair took over as VP and Khaya Moyo became national chair.”
He said that pattern should continue as everyone knew that the chairmanship was reserved for former Zapu members even if it was not included in the Unity Accord.
Sibanda said if anybody wanted to change that, they should explain if the spirit of unity had changed.
“What is disappointing is the silence on the next chairman,” he said.
“We know there has not been an instruction from top leadership to begin official talks, but our top ex-Zapu leaders should not be shy to whisper to us that we should begin caucusing.
“We risk losing the post to original Zanu members. It’s our post; the gentlemen’s agreement is still binding.”
However, Sibanda was cagey when asked about possible candidates to succeed Khaya Moyo as Zanu PF chairperson.
“I haven’t heard any names. It’s because we have not sat down and tackled this matter and time is running out,” he said.
He added anybody else currently eyeing the VP post was just sowing seeds of confusion.
“Khaya Moyo is the only cadré who is on that path. Anyone who is showing interest in the post is planning to sow confusion.”
Ex-Zipra commander Ambrose Mutinhiri and former Zimbabwe ambassador to South Africa, Phelekezela Mphoko, are some ex-Zapu members who have reportedly shown interest in the VP post.