ZANU PF politburo member Naison Khutshwekhaya Ndlovu has declared himself the most senior former Zapu official eligible for the vice-presidency.
One of the ruling party’s posts of second secretary, who automatically becomes the country’s vice-president, is reserved for former Zapu cadrés and has been vacant since the death of John Landa Nkomo in early 2013.
Zanu PF national chairperson Simon Khaya Moyo is tipped to land the post at the elective congress set for December. However, Ndlovu yesterday came out guns blazing saying had the proper existing structure been followed, he would have been appointed vice-president ahead of Landa Nkomo as he was more senior.
Ndlovu said he did not contest Landa Nkomo’s elevation following the death of Joseph Msika as he did not want to cause pandemonium in the ruling party. He said he was the most senior former Zapu official in Zanu PF followed by Angelina Masuku.
Ndlovu said if those advocating for seniority respected procedure, there would be no debate as to who should be the next second vice-president.
“There is a criterion on seniority in Zapu as the structure is known (and) even though the late Landa Nkomo superceded me, I did not want (to cause) pandemonium in the party,” the former deputy president of the Senate told Southern Eye in an exclusive interview.
“It was an understanding that he was also in line for the post although he had gone ahead of me, but now I am the most senior to assume that post followed by Masuku,” he added.
“If I had known that you were going to interview me I would have made available the information of seniority, but I cannot talk much for now because I am packing for a politburo meeting scheduled for tomorrow (today) in Harare. I don’t want people to attack each other with axes over the seniority issue so I will end there for now.”
Ndlovu said there were a number of senior former Zapu cadrés that were tripped along the way leaving him as the most senior currently serving in the ruling party.
“When we went into the Unity Accord, we had a structure which is still applicable and along the way there are many people who were tripped,” he said.
Ndlovu also backed sentiments made by Media, Information and Broadcasting Services minister Jonathan Moyo that the Zanu PF national chairperson is not reserved for a former Zapu cadré.
Moyo told the Sunday Mail that the chairerson’s post was “open to be filled by the best candidate and not reserved for either side”.
Moyo said the fact that there were two vice-presidents meant that they could not both be from one side.
According to Ndlovu, the chairmanship was not mentioned emphatically in the Unity Accord of 1987 between then rival Zanu PF and PF Zapu.
He said only the second vice-presidency was mentioned as reserved for former Zapu members. Ndlovu said Msika only became the united Zanu PF national chairperson because Zapu could not let late Vice-President Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo to join the presidium alone, and not as a result of a written down agreement.
“My understanding of the Unity Accord was that Zanu PF had President Robert Mugabe and Zapu had Joshua Nkomo as vice-president. Msika was a respected person and we could not have left Dr Nkomo to go alone.
“The Unity Accord was very clear that the second VP would come from the former Zapu, but it did not say anything on other positions,” Ndlovu added.