PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa faces his most defining moment, when he decides on who to pick for the positions of Zanu-PF vice-presidents at the ruling party’s extraordinary congress set to roar into life with a central committee meeting today.
Mnangagwa was elevated to the country’s top job as former President Robert Mugabe’s successor on the back of military intervention and a popular demonstration that forced the 93-year-old to resign.
High-level Zanu-PF sources said intense discussions are ongoing between Zanu-PF leaders and the leadership of the country’s military, effectively the midwives to Mnangagwa’s presidency.
“It’s a tricky situation. It’s a poser that is giving him headaches, but one which needs to be dealt with,” NewsDay heard.
Zanu-PF spokesperson, Simon Khaya Moyo said the extraordinary congress called by Mugabe initially to deal with the then succession issue would not be turned into an elective indaba.
“The extraordinary congress is being convened for a specific purpose and nothing outside that will be discussed. This is not an elective congress. The President and first secretary (Mnangagwa) will use his discretion on the appointment of his deputies. He may do it now or later, it is up to him,” he said.
Sources said there are five names being bandied about as possible candidates to fill the two slots as Mnangagwa’s deputies.
Mnangagwa has to appoint two deputies taking cognisance of ethnic balancing that Mugabe has successfully managed over the 30 years he was executive President since the amalgamation of liberation movements Zanu and-PF Zapu in 1987.
Zimbabwe Defence Forces Commander, General (ZDF) Constantino Chiwenga leads the pack that also includes Environment and Climate minister Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri (from the Zanu-PF side), and Speaker of the National Assembly Jacob Mudenda, Defence minister Kembo Mohadi as well as revived Zapu leader, Dumiso Dabengwa (from the-PF-Zapu side).
“The women’s league has continued with the demands for a woman to be appointed VP that almost got (former First Lady) Grace Mugabe elevated to the presidium and want Muchinguri appointed,” said another source.
“As things stand, Mohadi is the most senior member of Zapu in Zanu-PF, Dabengwa might be roped in as part of efforts to woo the Matabeleland vote and unite the region. Mohadi might be undone by the intra-ethnic dimension, which brings in Mudenda, who, however, is seen as being a lightweight because he left Zapu way before the 1987 Unity Accord.”
War veterans secretary-general and Zanu-PF national commissar, Victor Matemadanda said the decision on who become vice-presidents rests with Mnangagwa.
Women’s league secretary for administration, Monica Mutsvangwa would not be drawn into the discussion of the woman’s quota.
“We are just two days away from the congress. I would rather have you wait for the outcome of deliberations from that platform,” she said.