Barely three months after the 2018 elections, the Zanu PF Youth league has begun canvassing for the endorsement of President Emmerson Mnangagwa as the ruling party candidate in the 2023 elections while shutting doors on possible challengers within the party.
The endorsement could be a killer hammer to an alleged faction aligned to Vice President Constantino Chiwenga, believed to be pushing for Mnangagwa to run just for one term.
This is despite the fact that Chiwenga was very instrumental in bringing Mnangagwa to power last year during a military takeover which deposed former president Robert Mugabe.
Speaker after speaker during Wednesday’s National Convention at the party’s headquarters in Harare seemed to suggest that the door had been closed for other possible candidates who might want to contest against Mnangagwa as the youths took turns to chant the “ED Pfee 2023” slogan.
The youth league commissar, Godfrey Tsenengamu, a Mnangagwa loyalist, told the gathering that they expect the President to run his full two terms without hindrance.
“The president is entitled to run for two terms and as the youth league, you have our full support, we will support you in 2023,” he said.
Mnangagwa has previously been quoted saying he will run for a second term but will not seek a third term.
Deputy Youth Secretary, Lewis Matutu, who introduced the ‘ED Pfee 2023’ slogan said; “This is in defiance of those that may be whispering in the corridors that the President will serve for only one term.”
The slogan is a sequel to the “ED Pfee” used during the July 2018 elections.
Chiwenga, 61, has never publicly revealed his presidential ambitions but is said to be the de-facto State leader, often issuing far reaching decisions within government corridors.
Observers say Chiwenga is keen on seeing Mnangagwa serve his first 5 year term and pass the baton to him before he becomes too old for Presidency.
There are strong indications Chiwenga was drafting in former military personnel into Zanu-PF in attempts to create a more pliant support base which will one day come in handy in supporting his bid for Presidency.