Mugabe faces stern test

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PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe faces an acid test to keep the Unity Accord alive ahead of Zanu PF’s congress in December amid attempts to do away with tradition that has seen former PF Zapu cadrés holding the chairperson’s post.

NQOBILE BHEBHE/
SILAS NKALA

Current chairperson Simon Khaya Moyo is almost certain to be elevated to the post of second vice-president left vacant by the late John Nkomo who died last year.

Ideally, a former PF Zapu cadré would succeed Khaya Moyo, but Zanu PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo has stirred a hornet’s nest by declaring the issue of the chairperson is not cast in stone.

Gumbo’s assertion would open the floodgates for Zanu PF leaders such as Didymus Mutasa to fight for the post that the former PF Zapu members insist belongs to them.

Zanu PF Matabeleland South spokesperson Jabulani Phetshu Sibanda told Southern Eye those insisting on contesting the fact that the post was reserved for former PF Zapu members were threatening the Unity Accord.

The vocal war veteran said Mugabe was the only person who could decide if the gentlemen’s agreement on the chairperson could be tampered with.

“If there are or would be any changes to the Unity Accord, especially the gentlemen’s agreement, that notification should come from Mugabe himself during congress,” Sibanda said.

“Whenever we meet as former Zapu members, we wonder what would happen to the Unity Accord once Mugabe is no longer with us.

“Will it be maintained in the same manner (the late Vice-President Joshua) Nkomo left it? Mugabe is our hero and he has protected us.”

Another former Zapu member Kotsho Dube said there was no controversy on the posts as a precedent was set.

“I have been reading that in the papers. The province will soon come up with a position as soon as the party releases guidelines through the politburo,” he said.

“But there is no controversy. Individuals can say their views on the matter.”

Ex-Zipra combatant Max Mkandla said Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans’ Association (leader Jabulani Sibanda was the most suitable candidate for the chairperson’s post because of what he termed his active role in representing Zipra politically.

Mkandla said there should be no questions about Khaya Moyo’s ascendency to the vice-presidency by virtue of his seniority.

“There must be no chaos over the VP post as this is a senior political position meant for Zapu members who are senior, not through birth, but in leadership,” he said.

“The documents which state positions for senior members are clear and currently the most senior active Zapu member who has the highest post in Zanu PF is Khaya Moyo.

“He was junior in the liberation struggle and when he met the late Vice-President Joshua Nkomo and became his aide, he never deserted him.”

Mkandla said there were a number of former Zapu members who wanted to be VP, but they were not suitable because they crossed to Zanu PF before the Unity Accord.

He said Sibanda should be the next Zanu PF chairperson.

“Sibanda is the most suitable person for that position. People like (Transport minister) Obert Mpofu, who deserted Zapu and crossed to Zanu PF before the Unity Accord, obviously do not qualify,” he said.

“Sibanda is not a tribalist. It’s just that they hate him because he is vocal and speaks his mind, but he is the most qualified former Zapu cadré for the chairmanship.”

In 2008, former Home Affairs minister Dumiso Dabengwa led a group of former Zapu members who dumped Zanu PF saying they were getting a raw deal from the ruling party.