THE past few months have witnessed unprecedented jostling for the post of second Vice-President and second secretary of the ruling Zanu-PF party among cadres of the former PF-Zapu. This unfortunate development follows a position which became vacant after the death of Vice-President Landa John Nkomo in January last year.
The late VP Nkomo had risen to the post from the national chairmanship of Zanu-PF — a position he inherited from the late VP Cde Joseph Msika in a smooth transition devoid of jostling and struggles for power. Cde Msika, the late Father Zimbabwe Dr Joshua Nkomo’s long time deputy in PF-Zapu, was appointed VP alongside current first VP Dr Joice Mujuru at the ruling party’s 2004 Congress in Harare.
Political contests are by their nature complex processes and jostling for power is nothing out of the ordinary in any voluntary organisation particularly political parties.
However, Zanu-PF has always prided itself in maintaining a modicum of control, order and dignity in the manner it conducts its affairs. The appointment of a second vice- president of the party has always been guided by the 1987 Unity Accord signed between Zanu-PF and PF-Zapu. Article 4 of the Unity Accord states that Zanu-PF will have two vice-presidents and second secretaries to be appointed by the President. On the other hand, Zanu-PF’s constitution does not allow for the appointments to be made by the President.
Article 7 of the party’s constitution reads: “There shall be a Central Committee which shall be the principal organ of Congress and shall consist of (a) President and First Secretary (b) Two Vice-Presidents and Second Secretaries one of whom shall be a woman and (c) the National Chairman of the party. All of whom shall be elected by Congress directly upon nomination by at least six provincial coordinating committees of the party, meeting separately in special session called for that purpose”.
This means that the Unity Accord and the party’s constitution in its current state are at variance regarding how people can occupy the two VP posts.
There have been calls to amend the party constitution at the forthcoming Congress in December to align it with the Accord so that the President is given power to appoint his two deputies. This, the proponents argue, would eliminate factionalism as some party bigwigs had taken advantage of the current status quo to create separate centres of power and advance their interests.
The jostling for the second VP post would also cease. As it is, there are now four candidates vying for the position following the withdrawal yesterday of Politburo member Cde Naison Khutshwekhaya Ndlovu from the race. Cde Ndlovu said he shared the First Lady, Cde Grace Mugabe’s view that the Unity Accord did not provide for, or foresee, a contest as part of the appointment of Zanu-PF’s two second secretaries.
This leaves current national chairman Cde Simon Khaya Moyo, former Ambassador to South Africa, Cde Phelekezela Mphoko, Home Affairs Minister Cde Kembo Mohadi and Retired Brigadier general Ambrose Mutinhiri as the names publicly linked to the post.
In the spirit of unity of both the party and nation, we urge the above mentioned gentlemen to come together with their former PF-Zapu colleagues and agree on a single name to give to President Mugabe for consideration. This is in line with the First Lady’s counsel during her rally at Pelandaba Stadium in Gwanda last week where she called the former PF-Zapu leaders an embarrassment for stampeding for the vice presidency.
The First Lady said she was disappointed with leaders who declared their interest in the top post via the media. Zanu-PF’s affairs, she said, were never conducted in the media. We concur with the First Lady and appeal to the remaining protagonists to heed her wise words and desist from their ways.
Cde Ndlovu has shown the way and we believe this is because of his seniority in PF-Zapu and wisdom that comes with it. We applaud his wise move and feel that he now stands a better chance of contributing to the selection of a suitable candidate for the post from outside the “confusion” prevailing over the issue.
We strongly believe his views, alongside those of other senior ex-Zapu officials, are crucial to the process of nominating the next second vice president and second secretary of Zanu-PF.