THE race to replace vice-president John Nkomo who died in January last year has intensified as three more candidates have entered the race to battle it out with Zanu PF national chairperson Simon Khaya Moyo who was cleared by former PF-Zapu members to assume the position.
By Elias Mambo
Highly-placed sources in the party claim Khaya Moyo, long touted as Nkomo’s successor, is now facing stiff resistance from former PF-Zapu members who feel he is too junior to ascend to the vice-presidency traditionally reserved for former PF-Zapu members in accordance with the 1987 Unity Agreement between Joshua Nkomo and Zanu PF leader President Robert Mugabe.
Those challenging Khaya Moyo include former ambassador to South Africa Phelekezela Mphoko and politburo members Kembo Mohadi and Ambrose Mutinhiri.
However, Obert Mpofu, who is also interested in the job, is reportedly ineligible because at the time of signing the unity accord he was in Zanu PF.
“They (senior former PF-Zapu members) are discussing amongst themselves, saying that Khaya Moyo was just a personal aide of (Joshua) Nkomo and he should not be elevated to the post ahead of more deserving candidates,” said a top Zanu PF official.
The source said Mohadi has support of his home province of Matabeleland South. Sources claim Khaya Moyo, who also hails from Mangwe district in the same province, is engaged in a war of words with Mphoko who was recalled from his ambassadorial post in Pretoria after Khaya Moyo wrote a letter to him, copied to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, complaining about his conduct. In the letter dated October 8 2013, Khaya Moyo threatened Mphoko whom he accused of decampaigning him.
“Do not demean yourself by going around speaking of me. When I take appropriate action do not cry foul,” reads part of the letter.
Asked whether he wrote the letter to Mphoko, Khaya Moyo said: “I am at a rally in Nkayi (Matabeleland North) and I am very busy.” Pushed further to say “yes” or “no” to writing the letter, Khaya Moyo said: “my friend I said I am busy.”
Party sources said Mphoko — a former senior Zipra commander — is arguing that he deserved the top post because he was a senior member of the party in 1987.
“Mphoko claims that he is one of the most senior members of the old Zapu and Zipra still remaining in Zanu PF and therefore should be the next second vice-president,” said the source.
“He said Khaya Moyo was nothing in Zapu, other than being Nkomo’s aide.
“The letter was written last December, but was only re-enforced in recent weeks, after the ambassador flatly refused to apologise to Khaya Moyo and following the Central Intelligence Organisation’s report linking Mphoko with the Mthwakazi Liberation Front,” revealed the source.