By Nkosana Sibanda
Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association chairperson Jabulani Sibanda says the 1987 Unity Accord conditions eliminate the possibility of a former PF Zapu member from becoming the country’s president.
Sibanda said the Unity Accord created an unfair advantage for Zanu PF to continue producing presidents, whilst Zapu members were relegated to vice-president’s positions, urging the party to ‘do away with the formalism’.
In an interview with The Zimbabwe Mail on the sidelines of the registration certificate hand-over ceremony for the Revelation Church of God at the Queens Sports Ground in Bulawayo on Saturday, Sibanda said the ruling party, must “do away with formalism” but warned that it should not do so ahead of the congress.
He said if ‘formalism’ was allowed to continue, no former PF Zapu member would have a chance to rule the country, urging the party to open room for debate around the issue.
“For how long are we going to remain confined in this formalism? We need to get out of formalism, but we can’t get out of it (formalism) when we are heading for the congress, that will be a scandal,” said Sibanda.
Succession battles are currently rocking Zanu PF which has reportedly been divided along factional lines, where senior party members are vying for the vice-president and national chairperson positions ahead of the party’s elective congress in December.
Vice-President Joice Mujuru and Justice minister Emmerson Mnangagwa, who are reportedly leading separate factions in the party, are said to be hoping to eventually succeed President Robert Mugabe when he steps down. They have, however, denied leading any faction or harbouring ambitions to take over the country’s presidency.
Traditionally, one of the country’s two vice-presidents have always come from Zapu, namely Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo (1987-199), Joseph Msika (1999-2009), John Nkomo (2009-2013) and if ‘formalism’ has its way, Simon Khaya Moyo, as the current Zanu PF national chairman, is in line for the position.
Prior to being vice presidents, Msika and John Nkomo had been Zanu-PF chairpersons whilst Joshua Nkomo had been Zapu president, deputised by Msika before the signing of the Unity Accord.
“This formalism is making former Zapu people only move up to the vice president (position) and in this circumstance, the next president is going to come from Zanu PF. We need to come out of this formalism, but we can’t change when congress is by the corner,” he said, adding that “people should hold each position through merit and support of the people”.
Besides Khaya-Moyo, Home Affairs minister Kembo Mohadi, former Zimbabwe ambassador to South Africa Phekezela Mphoko and politburo member Naison Khutshwekhaya Ndlovu are also reportedly in the race for the vice-president’s position. The Zimbabwe Mail