HARARE – Zanu PF politburo member and the Minister of Information, Media and Broadcasting Services, Jonathan Moyo says the party’s provincial elections have nothing to do with any perceived succession race in the ruling party.
Zimbabwe’s media has in recent weeks been awash with reports of serious infighting among top Zanu PF officials as the race to succeed President Robert Mugabe between the factions led by Vice President Joice Mujuru and Justice minister Emmerson Mnangagwa reach alarming levels.
Mugabe had to call an extra-ordinary politburo meeting on Saturday to try and extinguish the fires stoked by the race to succeed him where it was agreed that the results of the three provincial elections in Mashonaland Central, Midlands and Manicaland stand.
This led to celebrations within the Mujuru faction but Moyo yesterday reminded those celebrating to hold on.
Moyo’s comments come as speculation swirls that whoever controls the majority of the provincial chairpersons stands a big chance of succeeding the 89-year-old Mugabe once he retires or is incapacitated.
Zanu PF is heading to an elective congress next year — where presidium posts are up for grabs.
In a statement to the Daily News yesterday, Moyo said as minister responsible for the media, it was his mandate to get facts correct on major issues in the ruling party and in government.
Part of the statement read: “As minister responsible for, among other things, the media it is important to me that the media in our country is not only depolarised but that it is also enabled to have full and balanced information about goings on in the ruling party and in government in order for it to be in a position to publish all viewpoints in a major story of public or national interest. The decisions of yesterday’s (Saturday) extraordinary meeting of the Zanu PF is a case in point.”
“It is important to outline and underscore the fact that President Mugabe has just been elected for a five-year term as the leader of Zanu PF to run the government and that, therefore, there is no vacancy in the leadership of the party, government and country.
“It is also important to note that the Zanu PF provincial elections are not succession elections and that anyone who thinks they are will only have themselves to blame,” said Moyo.
Independent newspapers yesterday ran with headlines screaming that Mujuru had won the initial battle to succeed Mugabe, after the politburo chaired by Mugabe endorsed contested election outcomes in Mashonaland Central, Midlands and Manicaland provinces.
But Moyo offered a different view in his statement. He said: “It is neither true nor correct that the confirmation of the Zanu PF provincial elections in Manicaland, Midlands and Mashonaland Central means that the politburo endorsed a real or perceived faction against another real or perceived rival faction.
“That assertion is nonsense. The politburo is an organ of the party and not an organ of a faction. Any attempt to factionalise the politburo is doomed to fail because it will be resisted by the Zanu PF membership which is solidly behind president Mugabe as the leader of the party, government and country,” said Moyo.
Moyo added that it was a fact that the “politburo resolved that the announcement of the Mashonaland Central provincial election results without prior notification of the national leadership and confirmation of that result by the politburo was wrong as was the attempt to hold elections in the remaining seven provinces when the president was out of the country”.
Moyo said the decision by the politburo to uphold the election results in all the three provinces was “not in favour or against any real or perceived faction but in order to foster the closing of ranks in the party by letting bygones be bygones”.
“When you let bygones be bygones, it does not mean that there were no irregularities or problems but that you are consciously deciding to move forward together in pursuit of a larger objective of unity and progress which the politburo decided to do,” he said.
Moyo said in all the three provinces, the election results were too “close to warrant any fanciful suggestion that any real or perceived faction won against a real or perceived rival faction.”
“The bottom line is that while the on-going Zanu PF provincial elections are necessary to hold in terms of the party’s constitution, their timing has indubitably unsettled Zimbabweans who are tired of elections and who would like to see both the ruling party and government putting all their energies into uniting and moving the country forward by focusing on Zim Asset to improve the livelihoods of all Zimbabweans,” said Moyo.
Moyo warned against being too ambitious using the provincial results as a yardstick to fanciful thinking.
He said: (… anyone who cares to carefully audit the results of the Zanu PF elections in the Midlands and Mashonaland Central provinces they will be immediately struck by the reality that the results are too close as to warrant any fanciful suggestion that any real or perceived faction won against a real or perceived rival faction.
“This fact was not lost to the politburo hence the decision to close ranks by not allowing a contest in the remaining districts that did not vote for the sake of unity demanded by the closeness of the results in the two provinces.
“The same is true in Manicaland where, while the margin was huge between the contestants for the position of provincial chairman, the overall results were also too close such that no real or perceived faction can claim to be on a runaway train.”
Please follow link to read Jonathan Moyo’s full statement: