FORMER PF-Zapu secretary-general and long-time Midlands governor Cephas Msipa says he is no longer mediating or participating in efforts to find a single candidate for the vice-presidency because of massive jostling for the position by his ex-Zapu colleagues ahead of the Zanu PF congress in December.
Msipa chaired a meeting last year in Gweru attended by 23 Zanu PF politburo and central committee members who were in Zapu structures, which nominated national chairman Simon Khaya Moyo to fill the vacant vice-president’s post.
All the vice-presidential hopefuls attended the meeting at Twin Peaks in Gweru, save for Phelekezela Mphoko, former ambassador to South Africa.
The position has been vacant since John Nkomo died in January last year.
As part of the 1987 Unity Accord which brought PF-Zapu and Zanu PF together, one of the two vice-presidents should be a former Zapu member hence the jostling among ex-Zapu members.
President Robert Mugabe and the late former Zapu leader Joshua Nkomo signed the Unity Accord on December 22 1987, effectively dissolving PF-Zapu into Zanu PF, renamed Zanu PF.
Since the September 11 meeting held at Twin Peaks outside Gweru, politburo members Naison Ndlovu and Kembo Mohadi as well as Mphoko have expressed interest in the position.
Some war veterans and ex-Zapu officials have been calling for another meeting to iron out differences and come up with a single candidate but Msipa says he no longer wants to be involved.
“Too many people have come forward expressing their interest in the position. Some people who were there when we made the decision are now claiming the position, so what’s the use of another meeting. I don’t want to waste time and this is why I have told everyone that I’m no longer involved,” said Msipa.
Last month Msipa, who was still trying to bring the warring parties together, said former Zapu officials risked losing the national chairperson’s position to their Zanu colleagues because of jostling for one position — the vice-presidency.
Zanu PF secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa is campaigning for the chairperson’s position, which has been held by former Zapu officials since the Unity Accord was signed.
Former Zapu officials had tasked Msipa with convincing Mugabe and Vice-President Joice Mujuru to maintain this trend where the chairperson’s position is also reserved for former Zapu officials.
Khaya Moyo is considered a favourite to land the position by virtue of being the national chairperson. All former Zapu officials who held that position were elevated to the vice-presidency.
Mphoko, who has met Mugabe to push through his claim for the vice-presidency, is a former Zipra commander.
His disadvantage is that he is not in the Zanu PF structures and therefore does not qualify to hold a central committee position as he has not served the party for 15 consecutive years.
He is, however, campaigning for a central committee position in Bulawayo.
Mohadi is the deputy secretary for security and was a senior Zipra commander. He challenged Khaya Moyo for the national chairmanship in 2009 but was defeated.