Zimbabwe’s new Vice Presidents taking over outgoing VP Joice Mujuru will being announced within the next 72 Hours as Robert Mugabe appoints a new Zanu-PF Politburo that will not feature several heavyweights who according to the ZANU PF media “have relegated themselves to political oblivion by seeking the First Secretary’s ouster.”
Mugabe yesterday(Saturday) said he is announcing his cream-choices by Wednesday. In the mean time, the cornered Joice Mujuru remains the government’s Vice President even though she is now out of the party’s top leadership.
STATE MEDIA REPORT:
The changes could be a precursor to a Cabinet shake-up that will reflect the fall-out from the attempt to push out – and possibly assassinate – the President just a year after he resoundingly won a national five-year mandate to lead the nation.
Major casualties in both the party and State executives are likely to be Vice-President Joice Mujuru, Presidential Affairs Minister Didymus Mutasa; his Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare counterpart Nicholas Goche; ICT Minister Webster Shamu and several others.
Ministers Francis Nhema, Olivia Muchena, Dzikamai Mavhaire, Kudakwashe Bhasikiti, Flora Bhuka, Simbaneuta Mudarikwa and Tendai Savanhu also face uncertain futures.
Senior Government officials, such as permanent secretaries and directors, who were implicated in the faction-related mess would be fired, as already has been announced by the Zanu PF earlier. The President – who was unanimously re-elected by Zanu-PF’s 6th National People’s Congress yesterday — said he needed a little more time to weigh who in the new Central Committee was fit for the Politburo.
Newly-empowered by constitutional amendments that allow him to appoint all Politburo members so as to ensure there is only one centre of power in the ruling party, President Mugabe said he would unveil his core team this week.
Section 40 of Zanu-PF’s amended constitution empowers the First Secretary and President to — during the sitting of Congress — appoint Politburo members from the newly-elected Central Committee.
Outgoing secretary for legal affairs Cde Emerson Mnangagwa said President Mugabe was within his constitutional rights to make his appointments later this week.
He said Section 37 of Zanu-PF’s constitution (Powers and Functions of the Central Committee) allowed the President to announce a new Politburo when the Central Committee met as it is the highest organ of the party in between congresses and acts on behalf of congress when it is not in session.
“That is the provision we have used,” said Cde Mnangagwa. “In terms of the Unity Agreement, it gives the President the power to appoint the two Vice-Presidents. Only today did we have the election of the Central Committee this afternoon.
“It is from the Central Committee membership that the President must now select a team for the two Vice Presidents, national chairperson and heads of department who will constitute the Politburo. So, he needs time to go through the names and select a team for that purpose.
“He is doing so under the provision that when Congress is not sitting, the Central Committee takes that responsibility. So Central Committee will meet on Wednesday or Thursday next week. That is when he is going to announce to the Central Committee what he has not announced here because the constitution so provides.”
With the President understood to be keen to ensure his Politburo dovetails seamlessly with State functions, sources say any changes to the party team will reflect on the Cabinet.
The sources, however, were hesitant to say when the Cabinet reshuffle was likely.
The President yesterday said: “We will set up the Politburo (this) week.
“Hatingambozviiti mawuro ano. Mazita acho handisati ndamboona kuti province iyi yatipa vanhu vakadii, ndavanani vatingatore kuisa muPolitburo. So, I don’t want to rush it. So, be patient.
“But mid-next week, by Wednesday or Thursday, we will make an announcement. We will let you know because we cannot go far . . . We will have to choose the two Vice-Presidents, the chairman and secretary veSecretariat; basa ranga richiitwa naVaMutasa . . .
“But we will do a reshuffle. There will disappointment, but we will try to be as objective as possible and we will try to avoid zvemafactions and vamwe vakanga vachishanda mumafactions.”
Expectations were high yesterday that President Mugabe would name his two deputies and the party National Chair, but as indicated by The Sunday Mail last week, he chose to take his time and not succumb to populist pressures.
Senior officials linked with the top jobs after the Presidency are those of Home Affairs Minister Kembo Mohadi, Ambassador Simon Khaya Moyo, Ambassador Phelekezela Mphoko, National Assembly Speaker Cde Jacob Mudenda and Senate President Edna Madzongwe.
Some senior Zanu-PF members who had been frozen out due to factionalism — such as Cdes July Moyo (Midlands) and Mike Madiro (Manicaland) — bounced back into the Central Committee yesterday.
President Mugabe also appointed Cdes Supa Mandiwanzira, Pupurai Togarepi, Walter Mzembi, Aguy Georgias, Mudhomeni Chivere, Absolom Sikhosana, Simbarashe Mumbengegwi, Josephine Gandiya, Sikhanyiso Ndlovu and Charles Tawenga into the Central Commitee under the quota of Presidential appointees.