A FACTION loyal to Vice-President Joice Mujuru is today likely to press President Robert Mugabe to make a declaration on the party’s national chairmanship and touted constitutional changes, in a development that is set to indicate who is likely to get the upper hand ahead of the December congress.
Sources indicated that today’s politburo meeting would discuss guidelines for the election of the party’s national chairperson, proposed amendments to the party’s constitution, as well as the divisive factional battles that saw votes of no confidence being passed against provincial chairpersons perceived to be aligned to Mujuru.
Mujuru faces stiff competition from a faction reportedly aligned to Justice minister Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Zanu PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo said he suspected that the issue of the national chairmanship was likely to be addressed at today’s politburo.
“I suspect the politburo will touch on the issues of chairmanship,” he said, adding that he had not seen the agenda of today’s meeting.
While the battle in the public arena has been about the two vice-presidents and second secretaries of the party, the chairmanship is a strategic post and whichever faction gets it will have the upper hand in Zanu PF’s murky succession wars.
Since the 1987 Unity Accord, former Zapu cadres have occupied the second vice-presidency and chairmanship, although some Zanu PF members are calling for a break with that tradition.
They claim that while the second vice-presidency must go to former Zapu cadres, the issue of the chairmanship was merely a “gentlemen’s agreement” and the post should now be open to all members for contestation.
While no former Zapu cadre has openly declared interest in the post, Zanu PF secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa has shown a huge interest.
The incumbent, Simon Khaya Moyo, was until a few months ago seen as a shoe in for the vacant vice-presidency slot.
The group backing Mnangagwa is reportedly pushing for a constitutional amendment, giving Mugabe the powers to appoint his two deputies, with the hope that their man could land the post, as the president and Mujuru seem to have had a fall out.
However, sources said the Mujuru faction had indicated that it would only support the proposed amendments on condition that Mugabe first reveals the two he would appoint as his deputies.
This would most likely scuttle the group calling for Mujuru’s ouster, as such an undertaking would show whether Mugabe is prepared to dump the vice-president or not.
However, Gumbo laughed off such a scenario, saying he was sure the politburo would not accept any amendments suited to a certain faction in the party.
“Even the president mentioned that anyone who wants to be VP must be voted by the people, so whoever wants to be the next VP will be voted for,” he said.
“What I can tell you is that the politburo will hold a meeting tomorrow (today) and make administrative amendments to the constitution. Cde Mutasa is the one who can talk better on the purpose of the meeting, I am yet to be briefed.
“For now I know nothing because there has been no debate but I will be able to tell you once we meet,” Gumbo said.