Mugabe Takes Care Of His Loser
President Robert Mugabe answers reporters' questions in Copenhagen on Tuesday 14 December as he waits for the opening of the Climate Summit. Behind him you can see two of the MDC-Tsvangirai ministers who are part of his huge delegation (Energy Minister Elias Mudzuri and Sipepa Nkomo). Mugabe at the weekend showed he is still the Master of Patronage by co-opting a losing Provincial Candidate into the ZANU PF Central Committee. The two MDC ministers above are also getting the special Mugabe Patronage Treatment by accepting joyrides on the presidential chartered Jumbo Jet. Bought. Lock. Stock. Barrel.
Harare, Zimbabwe, 16 December 2009
One of the more interesting but less noticed aspects of the just-ended ZANU PF Congress in Harare was the co-option of Hubert Nyanhongo into the ZANU PF Central Committee. His co-option was made under a peculiar "presidential co-option" clause.
This is interesting because, as you will recall from one of my most visited articles to this day, Who Killed Elliot Manyika?, Nyanhongo is a Mugabe favourite who lost the election for ZANU PF Harare Province Chairman.
Mugabe and his Politburo tried to help him by annulling at least three elections in Harare in which Nyanhongo came off second best to Amos Midzi, the former Mines Minister.
In the end, Midzi won the last election held just before the Congress. Nyanhongo complained to Mugabe and to the ZANU PF Politburo but even they realised that annulling the results yet again would simply be too much. Congress was coming up and they needed to go in there with a Harare Provincial Executive in place.
In the end, Mugabe had a quiet word with Nyanhongo, who dropped all his appeals and Mugabe came through at Congress, making Nyanhongo one of his own special appointees to the Central Committee, the second most important body in ZANU PF after the Politburo, "the Supreme decision-making body" of the party.
Regular readers of the blog will not need to be reminded that Nyanhongo is favourite with Mugabe because he is the only ZANU PF MP in the MDC stronghold of Harare and even his elevation to being the sole ZANU PF MP in Harare was also a case of favouritism. Mugabe knew that Harare South Constituency was guaranteed to be his because he had settled thousands of squatters on invaded farms in that constituency and they knew which side their bread was buttered on.
Anyone made a candidate for the constituency, therefore, was a shoo-in into parliament and this duly happened with Nyanhongo.
People must also remember that Nyanhongo is a huge benefactor for ZANU PF. He runs one of the biggest fuel companies in Zimbabwe (Huber Petroleum) and has reportedly been very liberal in helping to keep ZANU PF people and the party itself mobile, even at the height of the fuel shortages back in the Zimbabwe dollar days.
This is payback. Big time.
He knows what he is worth to Mugabe and ZANU PF and that is why he was able to force re-run after re-run of the Provincial polls in the hope that he would secure a win that would stick.
Still, I mention all this just to remind you all that, at the weekend, you got confirmation of the information I have previously given you: that Nyanhongo is a personal favourite of Mugabe. The problems within Harare Province (ZANU PF) were as much the fault of Mugabe as they were the fault of both the Nyanhongo and Midzi "factions" in the capital city of Zimbabwe.
Now you know.