ZANU PF national chairman Simon Khaya Moyo’s chances of becoming the country’s second vice-president at the party congress in December appear to have taken a serious knock after it emerged some senior former Zipra members have no confidence in him, claiming he was merely a junior member of the party.
Zipra was the military wing of PF-Zapu party which, along with Zanu PF’s Zanla, waged the war of liberation against the settler colonial regime of Rhodesia.
Sources in the former Zipra command claim Khaya Moyo, who was an aide to Zapu leader Joshua Nkomo, cannot represent their interests because “he is too scared to articulate their issues to President Robert Mugabe”.
“Our members want someone who can approach Mugabe and forward our grievances to him. That would be someone who commands respect among the securocrats, including war veterans; someone who is senior and who can have Mugabe’s respect,” said a senior Zapu insider.
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 Khaya Moyo, a move that has diminished Khaya Moyo’s prospects.
Khaya Moyo appeared to be a shoo-in for the second vice-presidency after Mugabe appointed him Senior minister of State in his new cabinet.
However, highly-placed sources in the party claim Khaya Moyo, long touted as Nkomo’s successor, now faces stiff resistance from PF-Zapu members in the race for the vice-presidency traditionally reserved for former PF-Zapu members in accordance with the 1987 Unity Accord between Nkomo and Mugabe.
Those challenging Khaya Moyo include former ambassador to South Africa Phelekezela Mphoko and politburo members Kembo Mohadi and Ambrose Mutinhiri.
However in an interview with this paper on Wednesday Khaya Moyo said all those who want to contest the position should do so at the party’s congress in December.
“Zanu PF has a constitution and it is clear all elective posts such as that of the VP should be contested at congress,” Khaya Moyo said. “This year we have a congress in December so anyone who wants to contest should express their wish and do so at the congress.”
Party sources said Mphoko — a former senior Zipra commander — is arguing he deserved the post because he was a senior member of the party when the Unity Accord was signed.
“Mphoko claims that he is one of the most senior members of the old Zapu and Zipra commander that remain in Zanu PF today and therefore should be the next second vice-president,” said the source. Khaya Moyo was nothing much in Zapu other than being Nkomo’s aide at one time, the source said.
Khaya Moyo’s chances are also under threat from calls by those aligned to Justice minister Emmerson Mnangagwa’s faction who are lobbying for the removal of the Unity Accord arrangement as it pertains to the second vice-presidency.
“The position should be open to anyone interested and not reserved for those from the former Zapu,” said a close Mnangagwa ally.
If this lobby is successful, Khaya Moyo’s chances will be in further jeopardy as Mnangagwa is likely to throw his hat in the ring, enhancing his chances in his battle with Vice-President Joice Mujuru to succeed the aging Mugabe.