Mugabe plans major shakeup

President Robert Mugabe will make new politburo appointments at the party’s annual national people’s conference to be held in Bulawayo on December 9-10.

Robert Mugabe
Robert Mugabe

Over 10 000 delegates are expected to converge for the crucial conference, which Mugabe says is “actually a congress."

Party sources said this week Mugabe would seek re-endorsement as a candidate to stand in the forthcoming presidential election that he says he wants before March.

The indigenous empowerment issue will remain Zanu (PF)’s rallying point to woo a restive electorate that has seen steadily falling living standards since the last conference in December.

"Mukuru is wielding the axe," said a senior party insider. "His silence (on Wikileaks) is all brinkmanship, wait for the congress, you will be shocked."

Party sources said the commissariat wing of the party was likely to be restructured in light of the Wikileaks revelations. Those caught "selling out" will be demoted. The existing politburo team of 48 will be trimmed to allow other relatively junior members to take positions on the sub-committees to be created by Mugabe.

This will strengthen the party’s campaign thrust, they hope. A senior Zanu (PF) official told The Zimbabwean that the party was banking on the treasure chest from the Chiadzwa diamond field that has boosted Zanu (PF)'s campaign machinery.

Soon after his arrival from Singapore on Sunday, an apparently ailing Mugabe declared that a fresh poll will be held next year come what may.

"It is a very important conference as we organise towards national elections. After that conference we will not have another conference before elections so it is an important conference -just as good as a congress,” he said.

The conference would be "decisive" and there was a looming shake-up of all the 22 full secretaries in the politburo.

"There will be promotions and demotions," he said. "Right now everyone fingered in the Wikileaks debacle is busy bootlicking mukuru."

The changes will also take care of replacements for those Politburo members who passed on, including David Karimanzira and Khantibal Patel.

Jonathan Moyo was tipped to head a new politburo sub-committee of a combined external, information and commissariat desk. Another sub-committee on finance will need a fresh head as the party restructures itself ahead of the election, said our source.

spokesman Rugare Gumbo declined to comment on what he branded "speculation".

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