As Simon Khaya-Moyo ascends…
ZANU-PF faces a dilemma over who will occupy the party’s national chairmanship to be left vacant in the event that Simon Khaya-Moyo (pictured), the incumbent, is elevated to the second vice presidency.
It is almost certain that Khaya-Moyo would soon assume the second vice presidency, which has been vacant since the beginning of the year following the death of John Nkomo.
While a number of ZANU-PF bigwigs have been tipped to the post of second vice president, Khaya-Moyo is a clear favourite because of his seniority in the revolutionary party.
He is currently ranked third after President Robert Mugabe and his deputy, Joice Mujuru, which makes him the frontrunner on the basis of seniority.
To his advantage as well is an understanding reached through the Unity Accord of 1987 that reserves one of the vice presidency slots to those who were members of ZAPU at the time the agreement was signed between President Mugabe and Joshua Nkomo, the former PF ZAPU leader.
There is also precedence in the party whereby every other ZANU-PF national chairman has risen to become vice president of the party and the Republic. Examples include Joseph Msika (now late) and John Nkomo (also late).
Khaya-Moyo’s Curriculum Vitae has been bolstered by the stellar role he played in drumming up support for ZANU-PF’s victory in the July 31 elections.
He spearheaded ZANU-PF’s election campaign and capped it all by ensuring that the party wins all the 13 constituencies in his home province of Matabeleland South for the first time ever since 2000.
With Khaya-Moyo likely to ascend to the vice presidency, a dogfight could erupt for the party’s chairmanship.
In the past, there has been an unwritten understanding whereby the chairmanship of the party has always been occupied by former PF-ZAPU cadres. This followed the signing of the Unity Accord 26 years ago.
But there has been pressure over the years for the party to open up the race to everyone and do away with the “gentlemen’s agreement” which favours former PF-ZAPU cadres.
If the party is to abide by its traditional trajectory of appointing former PF-ZAPU members to the chairmanship, it goes without saying that the race would be narrowed to former members of the late Joshua Nkomo’s party.
This would restrict the race to the remaining former PF-ZAPU senior members such as outgoing Home Affairs Minister Kembo Mohadi, outgoing governor of Bulawayo Metropolitan Province Cain Mathema and Politburo member Ambrose Mutinhiri who are all heavyweights of note.
Outgoing Mines and Mining Development Minister Obert Mpofu also stands a good chance although his major weakness is that he crossed over to join ZANU-PF well before the Unity Accord was inked.
However, some sections of ZANU-PF are strongly calling for a rethink, saying appointments should be based on merit. Should this group succeed, the race for the ZANU-PF chairmanship would be left wide open.
Didymus Mutasa, the party’s secretary for administration, might enjoy an advantage over the other members of ZANU-PF, being the next in line after Khaya-Moyo.
Ahead of the party’s 2009 congress, Mutasa eyed the vice presidency which had been left vacant following the demise of Msika but he lost out to the late John Nkomo, prompting the then Manicaland ZANU-PF provincial chairperson Basil Nyabadza to resign in protest.
Mutasa may however, get competition from the other senior members of the party such as Emmerson Mnangagwa, the party’s secretary for legal affairs and Sydney Sekeramai, the party’s secretary for security.
One thing that is for sure is that the factional fights in ZANU-PF might intensify as the two major camps in the revolutionary party jostle to thrust one of their own in these two influential positions.
ZANU-PF in-fighting has its roots in two main factions, which are both loyal to President Mugabe. One of the factions is led by Vice President Mujuru, while the other group is linked to outgoing Defence Minister Mnangagwa.
Both groups are driven by the desire to succeed the incumbent should he call it quits from active politics.