By Denford Magora
The ZANU PF politburo met for more than six hours Monday and made some decisions that would be stunning for those who do not follow this blog.
First, let me remind you that when I broke the story of Mugabe’s offer to Dumiso Dabengwa for the the post of Vice President of ZANU PF and Zimbabwe, I also mentioned that Mugabe thought highly of Simon Khaya Moyo, the current Zimbabwe ambassador to South Africa.
Mugabe was said by my sources at the time to be opposed to Nkomo and would have preferred Dabengwa or even Khaya Moyo, who many considered a non-factor when I mentioned him. He was thought to be way too junior and without a national profile or even a solid support base in the southern part of Zimbabwe, from where he hails.
Well, the Politburo today ended up endorsing John Nkomo for the post of Vice-president, essentially going against Mugabe’s known wishes.
But they also gave him satisfaction by confirming Khaya Moyo as the new National Chairman of ZANU PF.
It is a curious thing, this: the Supreme Decision-making body in ZANU PF says the decisions to endorse the two today will only have to be “ratified” by Congress. Other senior ZANU PF people spoke of the Politburo decisions being “confirmed” by Congress, which takes place this Friday.
There is no room for democracy here. There will be no vote at the ZANU PF Congress to fill the posts of National Chairman and 2nd Vice-President. Instead, the delegates will be told who has been chosen and asked to confirm these choices, probably with War Veterans blocking the exits until the confirmation is given!!
The meeting today lasted so long because people like Minister in Charge of The Secret Police, Didymus Mutasa, were trying to throw a spanner into the works. Mutasa was demanding that his name be put forward for National Chairman and had got the backing of his home province, Manicaland, for the position.
Mugabe had to muster all his authority in order to prevail. In the end, both Emmerson Mnangagwa and General Mujuru helped him out by agreeing that the “laid-down procedure” should be followed. Mugabe was then able to insist that the position of Chairman and 2nd Vice President was reserved for ZAPU according to the Unity Accord of 1987 and that these posts could only be contested by people from that party.
Mutasa and his supporters, including Oppah Muchinguri, the Women’s League leader in ZANU PF, were arguing that, first of all, ZAPU had broken away and that there was no point in pretending that there was still unity.
They also argued that, since the preference for these two posts was based on regional origin (ZAPU members being mostly from Matabeleland), the same should also apply to Manicaland. Echoing the words of Basil Nyabadza, the provincial chairman in Manicaland, they said it would also not be proper for the Manicaland region to have no representation in the Presidum of the party.
In the end, though, Mugabe managed to quell the rebellion and carried the day.
But a sure sign that the Old Man’s iron grip is weakening within his own party is that the meeting lasted so long. He is no longer the Mugabe of his heydays, when Politburo meetings lasted a couple of hours or less, with everyone simply nodding their heads.
His departure from the top, as he has been told to his face at least four times by his fellow leaders in ZANU PF, would blow the whole Party sky-high. The factions within ZANU PF will simply tear the party asunder and that may well be the end of the whole thing. There is little likelihood of either of the faction staying on under the leadership of the victor and there will certainly be no compromise.
It is one reason why the party is tolerating this Old Man at the top instead of sending him into retirement and injecting new blood into the leadership of the party and country.
But, as the the title of this article suggests, this was nothing more than the rearranging of deck chairs on the Titanic. This ship is going down. It is only a matter of time because even Mugabe has his limits.
But you should also remember another story I broke here, about Mugabe being confirmed to run again for president of Zimbabwe. The decisions taken by the Politburo mean that Mugabe is now officially the candidate for ZANU PF for President in the next election.
There had been suggestions by some deluded ones amongst us that this was Mugabe’s last term as president, that there was no way he would run again.
Well, those voices underestimated Mugabe, which underestimation has been the hallmark of the MDC-T’s dealings with Mugabe.
Mugabe is not done with us yet.
But the next election will be something else completely
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