PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa has not consulted former Zapu and Zipra cadres on the filling of the post of vice-president following the resignation of Kembo Mohadi over a series of sex scandals with various women, some of them married.
This has created anxiety among former Zapu and Zipra leaders. Zapu cadres have positioned themselves to caucus over Mohadi’s replacement, in line with a tradition established under the former late president Robert Mugabe. But the caucus has not yet taken place.
Speaking to The NewsHawks this week, one of the most senior former Zapu officials, Tshinga Dube, said the caucus to nominate Mohadi’s replacement has not yet met.
Dube, being the most senior Zapu/Zipra member alive, was earmarked to lead consultations which would have resulted in the nomination of a candidate to replace Mohadi.
“We do not know who will replace comrade Mohadi. All we know is that comrade Mohadi was seconded to be the deputy secretary of the party, but we do not know who will replace him,” Dube said yesterday.
Dube said Mnangagwa would ultimately decide on who will take over from Mohadi, although former Zapu leaders expect consultations to take place first as per tradition.
Since Mohadi came from Zapu, his replacement in terms of the 1987 Unity Accord between Zanu-PF and FP Zapu, signed by their leaders the late Robert Mugabe and Joshua Nkomo respectively, must come from his former party.
Dube said in the past exZapu leaders would second a vice-president, but now they are currently waiting to see how the process will unfold.
There are a number of candidates whose names are being bandied about, including Simon Khaya Moyo, widely seen as the frontrunner, Sithembiso Nyoni, Philip Valerio Sibanda, Cain Mathema, Obert Mpofu, Jacob Mudenda, Ambrose Mutinhiri and Angeline Masuku.
However, Mpofu and Mudenda can only qualify if Mnangagwa acts arbitrarily as they were not Zapu by the time of the signing of the 1987 Unity Accord, having defected to Zanu-PF.
During the Mugabe era, the top four Zanu-PF positions were shared equally between the two parties, meaning Zanu had the President and one co-vice-president and Zapu had the co-vice-president and chairperson.
However, after the 2017 coup Mnangagwa changed tack and appointed a Zanu leader, Oppah Muchinguri, as the new chair.
This did not go down well with former Zapu leaders who feel Mnangagwa is violating the agreement and
tradition, risking losing the Matabeleland swing electoral regions.
Moyo is seen as the frontrunner. Nyoni has a chance mainly on the gender card. Sibanda is seen as an outsider in political circles, although he could be a wild card.
Mutinhiri remains a factor, but coming from outside the Midlands and Matabeleland— he is from Mashonaland East — he is also almost certainly out. His main problem is that he was anti-coup.
Masuku, although very senior, is now elderly and practically out. This leaves Moyo leading the race to succeed Mohadi. As the Zanu-PF spokesperson and a former national chairperson, he is a leading member of the party and one of the most senior officials from Zapu.
The fact that he was Joshua Nkomo’s right-hand man puts him in good stead. Besides, he could bring a civilian and sophisticated side to a presidium which is largely associated with more brawn and brutality than brain.
Moyo, an experienced diplomat, is generally respected and represents the Zapu old order.
In terms of competence, he is seen as a decent administrator. Mpofu, as the Zanu-PF secretary for administration, ranks highly in Zanu-PF and his name is naturally being mentioned among potential successors.
Mpofu played a key role in Mnangagwa’s ascendancy and chaired the Zanu-PF central committee meeting which removed Mugabe and installed him as party leader.
He has also managed to build a political base in Matabeleland North and is arguably the most powerful Zanu-PF politician in the province.
However, Mpofu defected from Zapu before the 1987 Unity Accord, which many Zapu officials say effectively rules him out of the race.
Mnangwagwa also dropped Mpofu from cabinet and sent him to the party headquarters, showing he is not wanted up there.
Like Mpofu, Mudenda also defected from Zapu before the Unity Accord.
The Speaker of the National Assembly has an ugly past to reckon with, as he featured prominently in the Willowgate scandal in the 1980s.