BULAWAYO — The road has been cleared for ZANU-PF’s national party chairperson Simon Khaya-Moyo’s ascendancy to the post of Vice President for which he is the frontrunner, following ZANU-PF’s resounding victory in last month’s harmonised elections, The Financial Gazette can report.
The post of second Vice President fell vacant in January this year with the death of John Nkomo.
President Robert Mugabe who is being sworn-in today to lead Zimbabwe for the next five years is expected to later appoint a Cabinet that includes two Vice Presidents. Joice Mujuru already occupies the first vice presidency.
While a number of ZANU-PF bigwigs have been tipped for the second vice presidency, Moyo is a clear favourite because of his seniority in the revolutionary party.
He is currently ranked third after President Mugabe and his deputy, Mujuru, which makes him the frontrunner in terms of seniority.
To his advantage as well is an understanding reached through the Unity Accord of 1987 that reserves one of the vice presidency slots to those who were members of ZAPU at the time the agreement was signed between President Mugabe and Joshua Nkomo, the former ZAPU leader.
There is also precedence in the party whereby every other ZANU-PF national chairperson has risen to become vice president of the party and the republic. Examples include Joseph Msika (now late) and John Nkomo (also late).
But there are other dark horses in the form of outgoing Home Affairs Minister Kembo Mohadi, Mines and Mining Development Minister Obert Mpofu and Politburo member Ambrose Mutinhiri.
This time around Khaya-Moyo’s curriculum vitae has been bolstered by the stellar role he played in drumming up support for ZANU-PF ahead of the elections.
He spearheaded ZANU-PF’s election campaign and capped it all by ensuring that the party wins all the 13 constituencies in his home province of Matabeleland South for the first time ever since 2000.
His performance in Matabeleland South surpassed that of his contender, Mpofu, in Matabeleland North, where ZANU-PF won seven out of 13 constituencies.
Khaya-Moyo would therefore be coming in as the Vice President at a time when his party has more representation in the Matabeleland region ever since the formation of the united MDC in 1999.
In the past, ZANU-PF national spokesperson Rugare Gumbo, has refrained from commenting on the issue arguing that the nation would be advised of the process in due course.
This week, Gumbo said he was not privy to what the President would immediately do regarding the replacement of Nkomo, but explained that in the past all replacements have always been done at congress.
“That is the procedure we have always followed in the past,” he said.
Gumbo said the VP post was not the only vacant position, adding there were also others in the Politburo that were all awaiting congress to be filled-in.
It is, however, interesting to note that in terms of ZANU-PF’s constitution, provinces nominate the president, the two vice presidents and the national chairman ahead of congress held every five years. The party’s last congress was in December 2009 while the next will be held in 2014.
What this means is that President Mugabe is likely to appoint Khaya-Moyo as Vice President in his new government and wait for the party congress in 2014 to confirm him in that position in the party.
Alternatively, he may call for a special congress to fill in all the vacant positions, with the candidate nominated for the second vice presidency automatically becoming his deputy in government.
Political commentator, Mgcini Moyo, said the road has certainly been cleared for Khaya-Moyo to become the second Vice President.
“The agreement between ZANU-PF and PF-ZAPU in 1987 was that the second vice president will always be a former ZAPU person,” he said.
Moyo elaborated: “Simon Khaya-Moyo is the most senior ZAPU person in the current set-up. Therefore, yes, he will most certainly become the second vice president of Zimbabwe. It’s an automatic progression from the chairmanship of the party to the second vice president post.”
Another political analyst, Thabani Nyoni, said if ZANU-PF believes that the results it got from the elections were reflective of the efforts put by their own leaders, then Khaya-Moyo becomes the frontrunner for the vice presidency.
Another political analyst, Dumisani Nkomo said: “Khaya can now rightfully claim that post after grabbing all the 13 seats in Matabeleland South while Obert Mpofu lost a number of seats in Matabeleland North.”
But Thomas Sithole, another political analyst, had a different view altogether.
“I think the road is not yet cleared for SK given the rumours that are doing the rounds that we might have another inclusive government. If (President) Mugabe reaches out to the opposition there are chances Tsvangirai might be preferred ahead of SK in the spirit of reconciliation,” Sithole said.
“If (President) Mugabe goes ahead and appoints only ZANU-PF cadres and MPs in the new government and sidelines the opposition then Khaya has a chance to make it to the VP post.”
Political observers said although Khaya-Moyo does not have a record of pushing for the Matabeleland agenda in government, they expected him to perform better than his predecessors, the late Joshua Nkomo and John Nkomo.
They said pressure would be on him to justify ZANU-PF’s presence in Matabeleland by addressing issues of marginalisation and Gukurahundi, which his party has been turning a blind eye to.
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