HARARE – Vice President Joice Mujuru seems to have taken the lead in the race to succeed President Robert Mugabe after Zanu PF’s politburo, which met on Saturday, re-affirmed and endorsed provincial elections held in Midlands, Manicaland and Mashonaland Central.
Mujuru, who is also Zanu PF vice president, is tipped to retain her position after the party’s supreme governing body outside congress endorsed the provincial election results which were won by members of her faction.
The endorsement of the provincial election results sets the vice president at an advantage over the Emmerson Mnangagwa faction as she now only needs the votes of three out of the seven remaining provinces to get an endorsement for presidium candidature.
Any endorsement for presidium candidates needs to garner the support of at least six out of the country’s 10 provinces.
Speaking soon after a special extra ordinary politburo session, party spokesperson Rugare Gumbo told journalists that all the bickering and complaints about election irregularities were now water under the bridge.
“The first decision was to reaffirm the provincial elections for Manicaland and Midlands and the second was the endorsement of the provincial election for Mashonaland Central,” Gumbo said.
He said elections for the remaining seven provinces which had been postponed to make way for the politburo meeting which sought to deal with the chaos caused by previous elections would be held on Saturday, November 30, simultaneously throughout the country.
“The programme is being worked out by the national chairman Simon Khaya Moyo leading to the election on the 30th of November. The chairman is calling on all provincial chairpersons and provincial ministers and team members to attend a meeting at the party headquarters on Wednesday the 27th of November,” Gumbo said.
The endorsement of the provincial elections puts to rest all the grandstanding by members of the ruling party who were using the media to discredit the elections.
Gumbo, however acknowledged that polls were indeed poorly organised but said the party had since learnt from their mistakes.
“The three provinces have given us a learning experience, we did not have resources like vehicles, we also had shortages of ballot papers and there were delays in delivering ballot papers.
“We have agreed that everything should be ready and elections start at 7 am and end in the evening with results being announced the following day,” Gumbo said.
He said the meeting also deliberated on the burning issue of factionalism which is threatening to dismantle the 50-year-old movement.
Gumbo said Mugabe, who flew back home in the middle of the fiercest factional battle in the party from a business trip in the Middle East on Friday, was “calm and composed”.
“There was robust debate about the challenges and the conflicting reports that are coming out of the press — the mudslinging perhaps which you may say was going on, but as a revolutionary party, we have been urged by His Excellency to try and reconcile our views and to try and make sure that the party succeeds as we have a major programme under Zim Asset to try and fulfil the wishes of the people and the aspirations of the people,” Gumbo said.