SENIOR ex-Zapu members in the Zanu PF politburo and central committee from Matabeleland have endorsed Senior Minister Simon Khaya Moyo for the party’s second vice-presidency ahead of the elective congress in December, Southern Eye can reveal.
Moyo’s unanimous endorsement puts to rest serious jockeying for the position that has been vacant since the death of Vice-President John Landa Nkomo in January 2013.
One of the ruling party’s posts of second secretary, who automatically becomes the country’s vice-president, is reserved for former Zapu cadrés. Former Zapu secretary-general Cephas Msipa told Southern Eye yesterday that he was present at a recent meeting held at Davies Hall, the Zanu PF Bulawayo provincial head office, where the party’s bigwigs in the region all agreed that Moyo was their man for VP.
Msipa, who is the most senior surviving ex-Zapu official and a member of the Zanu PF politburo, said all members of the two party organs from the Matabeleland region, including those that had previously expressed an interest in challenging for the VP post, were present at the meeting that endorsed Moyo’s elevation.
The only absentee was Phelekezela Mphoko, who previously declared an interest in the post based on seniority.
However, Msipa said although seniority was respected, it could not be equated to stamina, ability and the intelligence needed to run the country.
“I personally invited their suggestions about the vice-presidency (at the Davies Hall meeting) and we agreed that SK (Moyo) be elevated to the post,” he said.
“I am not in my office in Gweru to give you the actual dates we met as I am currently in Harare to attend a politburo meeting.”
Some ex-Zapu members had questioned Moyo’s rise arguing that he was not in the party structures, but an employee of the late Vice-President Joshua Nkomo as a personal assistant. Msipa, however, suggested that Moyo’s closeness to Umdala Wethu, as Nkomo was popularly known, actually made him the best person for the VP post.
“When SK was working closely with uMdala, it does not mean he was not in the party,” he said.
“SK was on special assignments working with uMdala and no one understands the vision uMdala had for this country than SK, so it means it can help lead this country the way uMdala envisioned.”
Politburo member Naison Khutshwekhaya Ndlovu last month declared himself the most senior former Zapu official eligible for the VP.
Ndlovu said 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 then that 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.
However, some members who attended the recent meeting that endorsed Moyo said Ndlovu was asked if he was interested in the VP post as widely reported in the media and he reportedly declined citing fear of embarrassment.
“It’s not true that Ndlovu did not challenge Landa Nkomo because he did not want to cause pandemonium or because he was close to him,” the source said.
“Ndlovu actually lost in a contest to Landa Nkomo in a meeting similar to the one where we recently chose Khaya Moyo.
“The old man seems to have developed cold feet after realising that he would be embarrassed a second time.”
In addition to Mphoko and Ndlovu, Home Affairs minister Kembo Mohadi,had also shown interest at the VP post.