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Plot to stop Mujuru march to presidency

By Fungi Kwaramba

HARARE – Hardliners in President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF are working round the clock to derail Vice President Joice Mujuru’s march to the presidency.

Vice-President Joice Mujuru
Vice-President Joice Mujuru

With the second Zanu PF secretary riding on a crest of popularity after winning the Youth League elections last weekend, insiders told the Daily News that rivals in the Justice minister Emmerson Mnangagwa’s camp are plotting to stop the high-flying VP in her tracks.

With the new Constitution working almost in Mujuru’s favour, there is a palpable fear among her rivals that she is already the president-in-waiting.

If Mugabe were to leave office, retire or be incapacitated, Mujuru, according to the new Constitution, is supposed to complete Mugabe’s term as that is the position set out in Section 101 of the new supreme law.

However, for the first 10 years of the new Constitution, that provision is altered by the provisions of Section 14 of the Sixth Schedule and in particular sub-sections (4) and (5) as read with sub-section (1), the effect of which is that a substantive replacement to the office of the president must be made “within 90 days after the vacancy occurred…”

Official sources yesterday told the Daily News that it was the Mnangagwa faction which introduced a 10-year clause to the new Constitution.

Notwithstanding outlandish claims from the Mnangagwa camp that their rivals are orchestrating kidnappings in order to influence the outcome of the Women’s League elections, scheduled to start tomorrow, Mujuru has secured an almost unassailable support as president-in-waiting.

But to muddy the waters, official sources say, the Mnangagwa faction has reportedly roped in Mugabe’s wife Grace, who is set to take over as the Women’s League boss after having been nominated by the women’s organ and endorsed by the Youth League.

Grace’s entry into politics is seen as an attempt by the Mnangagwa faction to solicit the support of party president Mugabe.

Some analysts have, however dismissed Grace’s pedigree and political stamina to withstand and participate in the dirty Zanu PF political machinations.

Apart from using the Grace trump card, insiders allege that the Mnangagwa camp is also pursuing other ends, including roping in the media to soil reputations of those linked to
Mujuru.

At the Heroes Day celebrations on Monday, some senior officials from the Mujuru camp were unsettled as they watched surreptitious indabas taking place in broad day light as the plot thickened.

Later on the same day, politburo members Saviour Kasukuwere, Jonathan Moyo, Edna Madzongwe — all linked to the Mnangagwa camp — attended a press conference where Oppah Muchinguri attacked the shambolic youths elections, abductions, and intimidation that are currently rocking Zanu PF.

Muchinguri, a key ally of Mnangagwa, indicated that they wanted men who had run the youths conference to stay away from the Women League vote.

“This is a women’s conference, we do not want men to interfere, unless they want to wear dresses, they should not interfere,” Muchinguri said.

“I want to condemn in the strongest terms any form of bribery taking place. Once we get information, we will not hesitate to probe them.”

While Muchinguri did not name the culprits — pivotal allies of Mujuru, who include Manicaland godfather and Zanu PF kingmaker Didymus Mutasa, national chairperson Simon Khaya Moyo and Webster Shamu, the political commissar — she accused the party heavyweights superintending over the chaotic youth elections.

Mutasa yesterday told the Daily News that he does not have time for petty battles.

Asked to comment on Muchinguri’s allegations that women were being abducted, Mutasa angrily retorted: “Ndezvake izvo (It is her problem). We do not even know anything about kidnappings. We are a mature party, we do not do that.”

Asked whether they has been changes to the running of elections, Mutasa said, “As far as we are concerned, zvinhu zviri kutofamba sezvatakataura (things are moving on as planned).”

With the party mired in deepening factionalism, Mugabe has been fuming but is apparently failing to stop the dogfights in his 51-year-old party.

With Mugabe being the uncontested Zanu PF leader since 1977, the party’s constitution is vague on succession.

The party only has a clause that deals with what should take place in the absence of the party’s president and first secretary, in which case one of the two vice-presidents (at the moment there is only one), is supposed to carry out the first secretary’s duties.

Insiders say the term “absence” should not be mistaken for death or incapacitation.

But in the past, Mugabe hinted that Mujuru would take over.

After the elevation of Mujuru to the vice presidency in 2004, Mugabe said, “When you choose her as a vice president, you don’t want her to remain in that chair do you?”

But in a recent interview with Ghanaian-born British film-maker Roy Agyemang, Mugabe flip-flopped and ruled out all “contenders” to his throne. Daily News

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