Zimbabwe Vice-Presidential Nominations Turn Chaotic
"Oh my head!" - Robert "The Solution" Mugabe is being given a headache by the process of selecting one of his vice-presidents. The Matabeleland provinces, who had been asked to nominate a candidate from within the former PF ZAPU structures have now refused to do so and instead say the process should be a national one and not a tribal one.
Harare, Zimbabwe, 15 October 2009
Nominations for a person to replace the late Vice President Joseph Msika have turned chaotic, with the ZANU PF provinces in Matabeleland failing to agree amongst themselves on a candidate. As a result of this, the Matabeleland region has now asked the ZANU PF Politburo to ask all ten provinces in Zimbabwe to nominate someone to replace Msika.
The Politburo of Mugabe's party had only asked its Matabeleland structures to nominate someone to replace the VP.
Sikhanyiso Ndlovu, the useless former minister of information and publicity and a Politburo member told reporters:
"Yes, we did meet as Bulawayo, Matabeleland South and Matabeleland North Provinces. National Chairman Comrade John Nkomo was also present. It was a high-powered meeting. Our position was that PF-ZAPU was never a regional party and so we would also want endorsement from other provinces."
There is more to this that just this mere announcement. ZAPU people who have remained in ZANU PF because they are on the gravy train can see that the party is not going anywhere and is not really interested in developing Matabeleland.
This is why MDC was doing well in Matabeleland. It was only because they could not find another candidate or party to support. When Simba Makoni, who clashed with Mugabe over even such things as the naming of the Matabeleland Water Project (he wanted it to be named the National or Zimbabwe or Zambezi Water Project, insisting that the project was so big that it had to be given national prominence), the people of Matabeleland gave him 45% of their votes while handing Arthur Mutambara, who had endorsed Makoni for president, ten seats in parliament.
Anyway, I digress.
The breakaway ZAPU, led by Dumiso Dabengwa, actually has more supporters amongst those who stayed behind with Mugabe than ZANU PF realises and the insistence on going national is only a reflection of the position taken by the breakaway ZAPU, which insists that it is not a regional party, but a national one ready to topple ZANU PF and the MDC.
It goes to prove what I have always said about the people of Matabeleland, that they are probably the shrewdest voters in Zimbabwe, much cleverer than their Shona counterparts who tend to just follow the crowd. The people of Matabeleland tend to be more united and intelligent in their voting patterns because they look for a candidate they believe is committed to uplifting their area, which has been woefully neglected by ZANU PF.
In refusing to nominate a candidate, the Matabeleland provinces are arguing that ZAPU is a national party, not a regional one. They therefore feel insulted that Mugabe and ZANU PF have sought to tribalise the post by asking for nominations only from the Ndebele region.
The second Vice-presidential post in ZANU PF is reserve for PF ZAPU, the party of Dr Joshua Nkomo, which was swallowed by Mugabe's ZANU PF after he had decimated their stronghold of Matabeleland and sent the veteran nationalist Nkomo into exile.
This was the area where the infamous Gukurahundi took place, which saw, according to reports, more than 20 000 people massacred in a genocidal frenzy that Mugabe himself subsequently called "a moment of madness."
So, chaos is about to ensue and the beneficiary of this is likely to John Nkomo, unless the provinces have a sense of humour and they nominate Dumiso Dabengwa. The post has to be filled by a member of PF ZAPU and Nkomo is most prominent leader known nationally.