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The race to succeed Kembo Mohadi is on

by Staff reporter
06 Mar 2021 at 08:12hrs | Views
FOLLOWING the resignation in shame on 1 March of Vice-President Kembo Mohadi over a sex scandal, a political race to succeed him has already started among former Zapu senior officials and Zipra commanders.

Since Mohadi came from Zapu, his replacement in terms of the 1987 Unity Accord between Zanu-PF and FP Zapu signed by their leaders the late Robert Mugabe and Joshua Nkomo respectively must come from his former party.

During the Mugabe era, the top four Zanu-PF positions were shared equally between the two parties, meaning Zanu had the President and one co-vice-president and Zapu had the co-vice-president and chairperson.

However, after the 2018 coup Mnangagwa changed things and appointed a Zanu person, Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri, as the new chair. This did not go down well with former Zapu leaders.

Under Mugabe, when a vacancy arose that needed the appointment of a co-vice-president from the Zapu side, he asked former Zapu officials to caucus and forward names.
Sources told The NewsHawks that senior surviving Zapu leaders are set to caucus this weekend to choose a candidate to replace Mohadi.

Being the most senior surviving Zapu leader, although he was in the military, Tshinga Dube is expected to lead the process assisted by colleagues such as Zanu-PF spokesman Simon Khaya Moyo, Cain Mathema and Angeline Masuku, among others.

If President Emmerson Mnangagwa follows that order, while replacing Mohadi, the likes of Obert Mpofu and Jacob Mudenda are likely to be ruled out as they defected from Zapu well before the Unity Accord, while Dube, Moyo and Sithembiso Nyoni could emerge as front-runners.

Others like Mathema have historical issues to overcome. Zimbabwe Defence Forces commander Phillip Valerio Sibanda is seen as an outside in political structures, although he could be a wild card. Zipra commanders want Sibanda.

Former Zipra commander Ambrose Mutinhiri is a factor, but coming from outside Midlands and Matabeleland he is from Mashonaland East he is also almost certainly out.

Masuku, although very senior, is also now old and practically out.

Simon Khaya Moyo

By all indications and all things considered Moyo is the front-runner to succeed Mohadi as the country's vice-president despite the fact that Dube is the senior official.

As the Zanu-PF spokesperson and a former national chairman, he is a senior member of the party and one of the most senior officials from Zapu.

The fact that he was Joshua Nkomo's right-hand man puts him in good stead. Besides, he will bring a civilian and sophisticated side to the presidium which is associated with brawn than brain and brutality.

Moyo is an experienced diplomat and generally respected and represents the Zapu old order. In terms of competency, he is seen as a decent administrator.

Sithembiso Nyoni

Nyoni is certainly one of the front-runners for the vice-presidency, particularly on the gender card. Her major advantage is that she is literally the only woman in the running. Masuku is her senior, but old. If gender balancing is to become a factor, Nyoni will come up tops. Her major disadvantage is that she does not have a political base in Matabeleland; she is actually from the Midlands. Some say the other problem is that she does not have deep Zapu roots and pedigree as she was once UANC.

Obert Mpofu

As the Zanu-PF secretary for administration, Mpofu ranks highly in Zanu-PF and naturally his name is being mentioned among potential successors.

Mpofu played a key role in Mnangagwa's ascendancy, having chaired the central committee meeting which removed Mugabe and installed him as party leader.

He has also managed to build political power in Matabeleland North and is arguably the most powerful Zanu-PF politician in the province.

His major problem is that he defected from Zapu before the 1987 Unity Accord which many Zapu officials say effectively rules him out of the race. Mpofu has also been associated with high-level corruption scandals, particularly during his tenure as Mines minister. The corruption tag has stuck with him like a monkey on the back.

Jacob Mudenda

Like Mpofu, Mudenda's major stumbling block is that he defected from Zapu before the 1987 Unity Accord which, strictly speaking, rules him out of the succession race. The ace up his sleave is that as Speaker of Parliament played a prominent role in forcing Mugabe to resign through impeachment, thereby facilitating Mnangagwa's rise to power.

The other problem with Mudenda is that he was involved in the Willowgate scandal.

Phillip Valerio Sibanda

Sibanda is being mentioned and his major advantages is that he has a military background and is related to Mnangagwa and hails from the Midlands. Mnangagwa has surrounded himself with people from his ethnic Karanga clan as a means of consolidating power, so Sibanda fits the bill.

He also has strong Zipra credentials. Sibanda also ran the military institution and has international exposure through peace-keeping missions, in countries such as Angola. This makes him strong on capacity to administer institutions.

His major weakness, though, is that he does not have a political constituency. His appointment would also be viewed as further militarisation of Zimbabwe's politics. Besides, Mnangagwa might be uncomfortable to be surrounded by two powerful military figures, given Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga is locked in power struggle with the President.

Tshinga Dube

Tshinga Dube is the most senior Zapu official alive, but has been hamstrung by illness. Besides he is too vocal and independent-minded for Mnangagwa's liking. He calls a spade a spade and is certainly not the bootlicking type. His chances are thus slim, although he might actually be the kingmaker.

Angeline Masuku

She is seen as too old for the job, although she is very senior.

Ambrose Mutinhiri

Coming from Mashonaland East, insiders say he can not represent Matabeleland region even though he is a well-respected Zipra cadre and is liked by his comrades. Former Zapu leaders say that at the moment Mutinhiri could have been suitable for the job but his main problem is that he was against the coup led by Mnangagwa.

Source - newshawks
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