Vice President Kembo Mohadi’s recently announced resignation has triggered speculation over who would replace him.
The 71-year-old quit in shame after ZimLive released bombshell recordings of his phone calls arranging sex with married women, including an intelligence officer working in his office.
Zanu PF’s politburo is meeting on Wednesday where Mohadi’s resignation is likely to be discussed, but a decision on who takes over is Mnangagwa’s prerogative following a 2014 amendment to the party constitution.
High-level sources told this website that Mnangagwa has discussed giving Mohadi a soft landing, with an unspecified position at the party’s headquarters under consideration.
Zanu PF’s constitution says the party will have “two vice presidents and second secretaries appointed in accordance with the Unity Accord by the president and first secretary for their skill, experience, probity, integrity and commitment to the party, its ideology, values, principles and policies.”
Without an amendment to the constitution, Mnangagwa is forced to replace Mohadi with a high-ranking member of the former PF Zapu liberation movement, which unified with Zanu during a 1987 Unity Accord.
Professor Jonathan Moyo, a political scientist and former Zanu PF Politburo member said a 2017 military coup which ousted long-time ruler Robert Mugabe has altered the Zanu PF leadership hierarchy.
Opined Moyo: “There are three scenarios. The first is whether they will use the matrix of the coup. The second is whether they use the constitution of the party and the third is whether Zanu PF remains committed to the Unity Accord.
“Mohadi came in as reward for his role in the coup. The coup matrix can bring even the Zimbabwe Defence Forces commander Phillip Valerio Sibanda because he was an important cog, and they can use the excuse that he’s ex-Zipra (PF Zapu’s military wing). Bringing him into politics would keep the spirit of ‘Operation Restore Legacy’ burning, especially following the death of Sibusiso Moyo.”
Moyo said if coup considerations carry the day, “traditional political structures would not count.”
“Sibusiso Moyo, (Constantino) Chiwenga, Perrance Shiri and Engelbert Rugeje all came into politics straight from the army. The military in Zimbabwe is one place where there’s a straight line into politics,” he observed.
A second scenario, according to Moyo, is one where Zanu PF follows its constitution.
He explained: “In that scenario, then the Unity Accord is a factor and one of the two vice presidents must come from former PF Zapu. If that be the case, Simon Khaya Moyo is the clear frontrunner, although from Matabeleland region the most senior politician in terms of party hierarchy is secretary for administration Obert Mpofu who is number five, and spokesman SK Moyo is number seven.
“In terms of PF Zapu, however, SK Moyo would be the most senior. Mpofu left PF Zapu before the Unity Accord. You would need a politician who left PF Zapu to join Zanu PF with Joshua Nkomo.”
Moyo said just behind Khaya Moyo would be primary and secondary education minister Cain Mathema.
“Like Mpofu, Mathema has some issues. During the war, Zipra wanted to send him and others back from Zambia for some misdemeanours but he ended up in London. Unlike Mpofu, he was rehabilitated and ended up serving as permanent secretary for Joshua Nkomo during the unity government. His other advantage is that he has served as home affairs minister, a post previously occupied by John Nkomo and Kembo Mohadi who went on to become vice president,” Moyo said.
A third possible scenario, said Moyo, is one where the lobby for a woman vice president finally wins the day after years of campaigning. The Zanu PF women’s wing and advocacy groups have been demanding an amendment to the Zanu PF constitution to provide that one of the three seats in the presidium should be reserved for a woman.
Moyo said this would come at the expense of the Unity Accord.
“If they no longer want to use the Unity Accord, then they will say let’s give it to a woman, and the women are already lobbying saying the Unity Accord has run its course, we’re united and we don’t need to unite in terms of positions,” he said.
In that scenario, Moyo said the race would be between defence minister Oppah Muchinguri and information minister Monica Mutsvangwa.
“This development (Mohadi resignation) has resuscitated their fight. The last time it started because they thought Chiwenga was dying,” Moyo said.
Moyo believes Mnangagwa will have no qualms disregarding the Unity Accord, which would require an amendment to the Zanu PF constitution. The Zanu PF Central Committee can make amendments to the constitution in-between congress which is held every four years.
He argued: “The truth of the matter is that a post-coup Zanu PF has become unity between the military and the party, as opposed to pre-coup Zanu PF which was unity between PF Zapu and Zanu. The casualty of the coup is therefore the Unity Accord. Mnangagwa, for all his pretences, if there’s anyone responsible for the destruction of Zapu it’s him. It’s impossible for him to do anything nice for Zapu, his DNA does not allow him.”