Mugabe Approach To Dabengwa On Vice President Post Causes Havoc In ZANU PF

Mugabe at the burial of Vice President Joseph Msika: the president's reluctance to appoint John Nkomo to the post of VP, which led to him considering Dumiso Dabengwa for the post, is now very apparent within ZANU PF, which has led to a free-for-all, with all sorts of jokers throwing their names into the ring in the hope of catching Mugabe's eye. There is only one other name Mugabe has mentioned besides Dabengwa's as a possible candidate. The rest are simply trying their luck, knowing that they will not be penalised for challenging Nkomo.

Harare, Zimbabwe, 30 October 2009

When we broke the story about Mugabe's approach to Dumiso Dabengwa to consider the Vice-presidential post made vacant by the death of Joseph Msika, we also revealed that the Zimbabwean president was not too keen on John Nkomo, who should rightly take over the post as the most senior remaining ZAPU leader within the ZANU PF structures.

Other members of ZAPU who have remained in ZANU PF have been emboldened by Mugabe's reluctance to anoint Nkomo to the post. Stories about Nkomo committing sodomy on a man from Bulawayo suddenly surfaced.

Now, the whole thing is a mess, with several men actively putting their name forward to challenge Nkomo's presumption to the throne. As of now, Naison Ndlovu, Ambrose Mutinhiri, Cain Mathema and Obert Mpofu have publicly declared that they want the job to come to them and not John Nkomo.

The one man who Mugabe has mentioned as a person whom he would consider is Simon Khaya Moyo, current ambassador to South Africa, but the context was of "extremis" when Mugabe mentioned him, making him immediately a long shot.

But he is said to believe that he is also a contender.

The reason why he has remained largely quiet on the specific subject of the VP post is that he knows the way Mugabe operates: Mugabe does not like people in his party to show ambition.

For instance, when Simba Makoni came back from SADC and started running Zimpapers as Managing Director, he soon clashed with Charles Chikerema, a relative of Mugabe.

Mugabe called in Makoni and asked him: "It is said that you have ambitions to sit where I am sitting right now" - meaning the presidential chair.

Makoni replied that even if that was the case, it was not a sin to have presidential ambitions if a person believed that they had the ideas, vision and capability to help Zimbabwe become more prosperous.

It was the beginning of the fall out. Mugabe eventually forced Makoni out of Zimpapers and it was the beginning of the process that eventually led to the former Finance Minister leaving ZANU PF in February last year and forming his own party, Mavambo.Kusile.Dawn.

So, Khaya Moyo has instead focused on writing lots of opinion pieces, making presentations to Mugabe quietly by sending him "analytical reports" on the state of Zimbabwe's (and especially Mugabe's) image within the SADC region. He says he is well positioned to do this because he is based in South Africa.

Mugabe has effectively confirmed his unhappiness with Nkomo as a candidate by failing to whip the provinces into line. Were he to indicate his preference in any of the various party meetings he is holding, word would filter out and you would see the provinces of ZANU PF coalescing around a single candidate.

That this is not happening and the process has now become a free-for-all shows just how uneasy he is with Nkomo.

ZANU PF insiders even say that it was Mugabe who moved swiftly to scupper Nkomo's ascendancy after Bulawayo Province endorsed the ZANU PF Chairman for the VP post. He called his point men in the other Matabeleland provinces, including Jabulani Sibanda, the "War Veterans' leader" who saved Mugabe's skin at the December 2007 Congress by intimidating all challengers to the presidency. All of a sudden, we heard the other provinces say that they did not agree with what Bulawayo Province had said.

Two weeks ago, the race was then thrown open, with all ten provinces being asked to nominate their choice for the post.

This is when it became clear to all and sundry that Mugabe was trying to find a way to avoid appointing Nkomo.

The confusion will almost certainly go all the way to the ZANU PF Congress in December this year.

It is a mess, but it really has no bearing on the direction this country is taking at all and can not change a single thing in the way the country is run for the foreseeable future.


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