Msika, sources close to him say, has turned down yet another attempt by President Robert Mugabe to persuade him to stay for another term as the party prepares for the crucial combined elections next year.
Mnangagwa is expected to replace Msika without a contest. But he may have to shrug off a slight challenge from John Nkomo who might be nominated by the southern provinces.
“Msika has resolved to resign and says he now wants to rest,” a source said. “Mugabe has tried to persuade him to stay, probably to justify his own desire to contest next year’s elections – but Msika has turned him down.”
“If he is going to announce his resignation, the congress will be asked to forward nominations and Mnangagwa is almost assured of overwhelming support, with a possibility of Nkomo also being nominated,” said a source.
Efforts to obtain comment from Msika failed and Mnangagwa declined to discuss the matter. If he steps down, Msika will leave a legacy of having always been a lonely voice in the Zanu (PF) regime that spoke against its continued violent grab of white-owned farms embarked upon 2000.
He has even attempted to stop the land grabs and order ruling party leaders and supporters to vacate land violent possessed. He will be remembered for his resolute stance against a clique of politicians led by former Information minister, Jonathan Moyo, who moved in to take over Kondozi Real Estates in Manicaland, which had been a vital foreign currency earner.
A former ZAPU senior leader, Msika is, however, blamed by some of his critics for having stood behind Mugabe for too long, despite his seeming moral aptitude in the midst of a culture of human rights abuses and lack of democratic values under the Zanu (PF) regime. – Itai Dzamara
HARARE - Vice President Joseph Msika has reportedly resolved to step down from the Zanu (PF) presidium at the party's special congress next month, and Rural Housing minister Emmerson Mnangagwa is the likely replacement.