Vice-President Joice Mujuru is unlikely to retain her Zanu-PF post at the party’s National Congress this week, while two surprise candidates could be elevated to the Second VP and National Chair posts.
Secretary for administration Cde Didymus Mutasa – who is linked to a plot to assassinate President Mugabe – is also unlikely to derive much joy from the proceedings.
Highly-placed insiders, in personal assessments of how Congress could pan out – told The Sunday Mail they were “almost certain” VP Mujuru would be dropped to a less influential role in the event she does not resign before President Mugabe names his team.
The sources said Home Affairs Minister Kembo Mohadi and former chief diplomat to South Africa Ambassador Phelekezela Mphoko could score big, with either one of them becoming Second VP and the other National Chair.
All provinces have already endorsed President Mugabe’s continued leadership, seeing as the First Secretary led the party to a sweep of last year’s elections; and Women’s League secretary-elect First Lady Amai Grace Mugabe will be confirmed in the post.
By yesterday, no one seemed clear on what roles VP Mujuru, incumbent National Chair Ambassador Simon Khaya Moyo and Cde Mutasa would assume after Congress as President Mugabe is renowned for playing his cards close to his chest and making surprise, master stroke decisions that many do not see coming.
Similarly, senior politicians were hesitant to say who they thought would land the office currently occupied by VP Mujuru.
But a source said: “It is possible to see Cdes Mohadi and Mpoko being elevated to the Presidium. Both have a reputation for being disciplinarians, which is something the party needs after the shenanigans of the past few years under the office holders who are likely to lose out at this Congress.
“The President might also want to show that senior leadership is not about Shonas and Ndebeles only but that every Zimbabwean, on the basis of merit, can hold office.”
This was in reference to Cde Mohadi’s Venda heritage.
Another source said the political commissar, Cde Webster Shamu, would also fall by the wayside seeing as he had failed to defend President Mugabe and the party from factionalists and was himself said to be a main player in the pro-Mujuru camp that sought to oust the First Secretary.
The Central Committee and subsequently the Congress, this paper was told, would adopt constitutional amendments approved by the Politburo last week to empower President Mugabe to appoint his executive team.
The amendments will do away with the multiple centres of power that have fanned factionalism.
A party official hinted at the possibility of President Mugabe making his key appointments after the Congress.
He said: “Tempers have flared in the past two months as people are being exposed for harbouring sinister motives to topple the President. Naturally, there is a high expectation from members to see who will and who will not make it to the top posts, especially the Vice Presidents, National Chair and the Politburo.
“There is uncertainty and, as a result, President Mugabe might decide to make some appointments as he is empowered to do after the Congress . . . He has made Politburo appointments outside of Congress and Conference before, so there would be nothing amiss if he did so again.”
Nine provincial chairpersons have been booted out in recent weeks after they were found to be plotting President Mugabe’s ouster.
Their plot has been in the offing since the 2006 Conference in Goromonzi and in 2008 it resulted in President Mugabe being forced into a run-off poll as they actively campaigned for opposition leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai.
Heavyweights who have already fallen by the wayside, apart from the provincial chairmen, are party spokesperson Rugare Gumbo, war veterans leader Jabulani Sibanda, Olivia Muchena, Webster Shamu, Dzikamai Mavhaire, Didymus Mutasa, Abigail Damasane, Sylvester Nguni and Munacho Mutezo.
Congress will be seized with charting a new course for Zanu-PF in the wake of the coup plot so that the ruling party can focus on socio-economic matters.
The congress theme is “Accelerated Implementation of Zim-Asset”.
The Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation is the country’s development blueprint for 2013-2018 and is anchored on promises made to the electorate in Zanu-PF’s successful manifesto for last year’s polls.
Ambassador Khaya Moyo told journalists on Friday: “The agenda for the Sixth National People’s Congress will be a packed one. As you know, Congress meets every five years.
“A lot has happened in the last five years and a lot will be deliberated on for the programmes for the next five years.
“Congress will chart a new economic path in line with Zim Asset. As you know, Congress will also usher in a new leadership to carry the party forward in the next five years.
“This is a milestone Congress and everybody has worked hard for the preparations and there is no doubt that this will be a successful Congress.”