Mugabe leaves nation guessing

President Robert Mugabe

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe has left the nation guessing after he postponed the appointment of his deputies to next week.

Richard Muponde
Senior Reporter

Following the purges in his party, many expected Mugabe to drop his deputy, Vice-President Joice Mujuru and appoint two vice -presidents and the party’s chairman, only for Mugabe to say he would announce a new look politburo on Wednesday or Thursday.

 Vice-President Joice Mujuru
Vice-President Joice Mujuru

While Mujuru’s sacking looks inevitable, observers have pointed out that Mugabe hardly fired senior members in the party and resignations in Zanu PF were alien.

Some observers have pointed out that the path may have been cleared for Justice minister Emmerson Mnangagwa to land the vice-presidency, but he may also have been left in a lurch, as Mugabe did not make any appointments.

Parallels have been drawn with Simon Khaya Moyo, who many expected to be elevated to the vice-presidency after last year’s elections and conference, but was only appointed a senior minister, while his position is seemingly under threat in recent days.

Article 8, section 40 of the Zanu PF constitution, which deals with the appointments of members of the politburo and deputy heads of departments states that : “Soon after the election of the president and first secretary and members of the central committee, the president and first secretary of the party shall, during the sitting of the congress, appoint from the newly-elected central committee, two vice-presidents and second secretaries, the national chairperson, the heads of departments of the politburo, the committee members of the politburo and the deputies to the heads of department.”

Justice minister Emmerson Mnangagwa
Justice minister Emmerson Mnangagwa

However, Mugabe did not do that arguing that he could not rush to make the appointments since he wanted more time to acquaint myself to the new faces. Ironically most of them have been in his successive governments in the past.

Analysts say Mugabe has left the people to speculate until he announces his appointments.

Journalist and political analyst Methuseli Moyo said Mugabe had left people guessing, although for him, the surprise would be if Mugabe did not pick Mnangagwa.

“I think he really needs more time to think seriously,” he said.

“Technically there are two vacancies after the removal of Joice Mujuru, it means that he can choose anyone at his own pleasure.

“The only surprise he can make is not to appoint Emmerson Mnangagwa as one of the vice-presidents.”

After getting the carte blanche to pick his deputies and party chairperson, Mugabe has three vacancies to fill, which could be an indicator on who his preferred successor is.

To add to speculation, at the high table, Mugabe sat with Moyo, House of Assembly Speaker Jacob Mudenda and his Senate counterpart Edna Madzongwe, raising conjecture that those could be his picks to fill in the vacant posts.

Zanu PF national chairman Simon Khaya Moyo
Zanu PF national chairman Simon Khaya Moyo

Political analyst Qhubani Moyo said he was not expecting any surprises when Mugabe chooses his lieutenants.

“I think there’s a clear indication that he wants to apply his mind in terms of who he’s going to appoint,” he said. “To me it’s not logical that a person who has just been elected immediately jumps to appoint his lieutenants without scrutinising them.”

However, at previous congresses, Mugabe has immediately announced the politburo line-ups, but Moyo advised patience.

“The wait is not long,” he said.

“It’s only four days and I think we need to be patient.”