ZANU PF politburo member Obert Mpofu and speaker of parliament Jacob Mudenda have been lobbying the party’s Matabeleland North provincial leadership to nominate them for the national chairmanship should incumbent Simon Khaya Moyo be elevated to the vice presidency at this year’s congress.
The vice president’s post fell vacant following the death of John Nkomo in January after a long battle with cancer.
According to a confidential Zanu PF provincial report distributed to senior Central Intelligence Organisation officials last month, Mpofu commands support from his province ahead of Mudenda.
“Two politburo members from Matabeleland North province, Dr Obert Mpofu and Advocate Jacob Mudenda, are mobilising for support from their province to land the post of national chairman in the event that the current national chairman Ambassador Simon Khaya Moyo is elevated to the position of Vice President,” reads part of the Matabeleland North report.
“Delegates from the province are divided over the lobbying on the basis of their factional allegiances. Dr Mpofu, however, commands support from the top six members of the Matabeleland North provincial executive.”
The need to find a suitable candidate to replace Nkomo has caused a wave of political infighting in Zanu PF.
Zanu PF secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa has also been lobbying the party’s provinces to support him for the influential position.
Party insiders say Mutasa, who was part of a four-member team set up by the politburo to investigate factional fights in the provinces, took advantage of the meetings with the provincial and district leadership to lobby for the chairmanship.
Although not one of the provisions of the Unity Accord, the national chairmanship has since 1987 been occupied by former PF-Zapu members.
During the Unity Accord negotiations, PF-Zapu and Zanu PF agreed that one of the vice presidents would be from Matabeleland.
Those eyeing the national chairmanship like Mutasa argue that the post was open to any member of the party as it was not reserved for those in Matabeleland. Zanu PF sources also say Justice minister Emmerson Mnangagwa is interested in the chairmanship.