Few surprises in Zanu (PF) elections

robert_mugabeBULAWAYO The Zanu (PF) nominations that took place last weekend saw the votes rolling predictably in for President Robert Mugabe (Pictured), but left Obert Mpofu in tears with only one nomination.

Mugabe was accused of using his political influence and machinations to gain nine nominations. This means that he is more than likely to maintain his iron grip on power as first secretary. The Midlands province, where Zanu (PF) strongman, Emmerson Mnangagwa, hails from, postponed its nomination process to the end of the week. This was due to what the province said was a need for wider consultations on the way forward.

From the nomination process, it is clear that Mnangagwa and his rival, Solomon Mujuru’s, political clout has remained questionable. The two are viewed as potential opposition for Mugabes quest to stay in power. It was expected they would ratchet their perceived supporters into casting their nominations for a candidate who would square off with Mugabe at congress in December. But the two chose to remain soft as wool – a phrase that Mugabe coined.

VP survives another election

Vice President, Joice Mujuru, managed to survive another election as she was nominated by eight provinces to take up the post of Zanu (PF) first vice president and party’s second secretary. Masvingo province however single-handedly nominated Oppah Muchinguri for the post of vice president and second secretary of Zanu (PF). Bulawayo, Matabeleland South, Masvingo and Manicaland nominated John Nkomo, the party’s national chairman, to the top four of the party where he is expected to be endorsed by the congress to take over the vacancy following the death of Vice-President and Second Secretary, Joseph Msika.

Nkomo was also nominated by Matabeleland North alongside his rival, Naison Khutshwekhaya Ndlovu, for the vice presidency. Sources in Zanu (PF) said the four provincial chairpersons, whose provinces voted overwhelmingly for Nkomo, were seen in Bulawayo on the eve of the nomination process. The sources said the four were there to pledge their support for Nkomo, despite the fact that the provincial chairpersons were supposed to consult their members on who to vote for. The other chairpersons were also reportedly keeping a lid on their nominations although it was clear they would rally behind Nkomo.

Mpofu up in smoke

Mines and Mining Development minister, Obert Mpofu’s bid for Zanu (PF) national chairmanship went up in smoke over the weekend after he received only one nomination.

Matabeleland North province, where Mpofu is an MP for Bubi-Umguza, was the only nominee. Sources in Zanu (PF) said Mpofu could have failed to get even a single nomination had he not flexed his muscles in the province. The sources said he took advantage of his presence in Matabeleland North Provincial Coordinating Committee (PCC) meeting that carried out the

nomination process, to secure the solitary vote. Mpofu is known in the province to be violent and for operating well-known, thuggish and violent operations. In 2002, 2005, 2006, and 2008 elections, Mpofu funded and administered gangs that attacked, maimed and injured his MDC opponents and their supporters. He even forced farmers to fund his campaigns in return for the security on their farms.

On Saturday, Mpofu is said to have arrived in Lupane where the nomination process had begun with Jonathan Moyo on tow. “When he arrived, he reiterated the province was supposed to nominate him to the national chairman’s post and Jonathan Moyo into the central committee. He then went to tell the Zanu (PF) district coordinating committee members and the Provincial Coordinating Committee to nominate Naison Khutshwekhaya Ndlovu to the Vice President’s post,” said a source. The DCC and PCC members, fearing retribution from Mpofu and his gangs went ahead and nominated as he instructed them. However, the Matabeleland North nomination was to be the only one Mpofu was to get. Sources close to Mpofu said he was surprised to hear that the other provinces had not supported him. “He nearly cried when he heard, said a source.

When approached for comment Mpofu said: “Why are you asking me these questions? What are you trying to achieve? Go and talk to John Nkomo and other provincial chairpersons and leave me alone.” Mpofu lost favour amongst PF Zapu cadres in Zanu (PF) after he crossed the floor to join Zanu (PF) before the old PF-Zapu guard could do so. He was then treated with suspicion, especially in 2004 when he allegedly spilled the beans to Mugabe on a plot led by Jonathan Moyo to restructure the Zanu (PF) presidium. Masvingo, the political hotbed of Zanu PF politics, seconded Home Affairs co-Minister, Kembo Mohadi, while Manicaland and Bulawayo selected secretary for administration, Didymus Mutasa and Khaya Moyo respectively.

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