Mujuru faces waterloo at congress

LYRICS of the song Sink or swim by Lewis Watson, a young English singer-songwriter, ring true for Vice-President Joice Mujuru as she fights to retain her position at a time a faction led by Justice minister Emmerson Mnangagwa is piling pressure on her after roping in President Robert Mugabe’s wife, Grace, to oust her at congress in December.

Owen Gagare

The lyrics go:
I see the evil in their eyes
I hear the lies behind their grin
They wander in the dark
Do not have a heart
Don’t let them take it away
Brace for impact!
… So save yourself
Because the undertow (current) is rising high
It’s sink or swim

Events within Zanu PF show the Mnangagwa faction is fine-tuning its plot to topple Mujuru, and lately Grace has become the ace up its sleeve.

The Zanu PF congress on December 9-14 increasingly looks like it will be Mujuru’s biggest battle of her political career as she risks sinking into political oblivion if she fails to retain her position, political observers say.

“It’s now becoming clear that the fight for the vice-presidency will be the highlight of the congress. It’s a winner-takes-all battle. A few months ago Mujuru seemed to be in cruise control, but Grace’s entry into politics has stirred the waters, catching her completely off guard,” said a Zanu PF official.

“She is facing a big battle now and the fight for all other positions has been dwarfed. At one time, it seemed the most vicious fight would be for the national chair, but the dynamics have completely changed.”

There are indications that Grace will challenge Mujuru for the vice-presidency, with the support of the Mnangagwa faction.

The battle for Mujuru’s position, Zanu PF officials say, has become so vital because whichever faction wins will most likely come into power should Mugabe (90) retire or fail to finish his current term, for whatever reason, which ends in 2018. Mugabe has been slowed down by a combination of old age and ill-health.

Zanu PF national chairman Simon Khaya Moyo is expected to land the other vice-president’s position because his challengers, Phelekezela Mphoko, Kembo Mohadi and Ambrose Mutinhiri, are relatively weak and do not hold positions of authority in the Zanu PF hierachy which they could use as a springboard.

The country’s constitutional arrangements favour Mujuru to succeed Mugabe should she retain her position.

Currently, a special bridging provision introduced into the Sixth Schedule of the new constitution, which states that “the vacancy in the office of president must be filled by a nominee of the political party which the president represented when he or she stood for election”, governs how Mugabe’s successor will be chosen.

The party is expected to notify the speaker of the National Assembly of its chosen nominee within 90 days, but in the interregnum the vice-president who was last appointed acting president on account of the president’s absence or ill-disposition assumes this role.

Zanu PF officials believe should Mujuru reclaim the position, and Khaya Moyo lands the vice-presidency, they will work together to get the former into power.

But the officials believe should Grace or any other candidate sponsored by the Mnangagwa faction land the position, they are likely to use the period to consolidate power in a similar manner that Mujuru would, putting them in the driving seat to claim the presidency.

Mujuru is the Zanu PF second secretary, meaning she is second to Mugabe both in the party and government, and would retain the position if she wins at congress.

University of Zimbabwe political science lecturer Professor Eldred Masunungure said the December congress was very critical not only to Mujuru, but for everyone eyeing senior positions.

“It’s a critical if not a decisive congress,” he said. “It’s like the last supper congress in the sense that it is likely to be the last congress that the incumbent presides over as the president and first secretary of Zanu PF. It’s imperative that those that are keen to get critical positions do so at this congress and that may also be the motive behind the First Lady’s entry into politics.”

Masunungure said if Mujuru loses her position at congress, it may not necessarily be the death of her political career, but she would require a lot of time, possibly up to 10 years, to bounce back into serious reckoning.

He also said it was not cast in stone that whoever wins the vice-presidency would take over from Mugabe given the many dynamics at play in Zanu PF.

“We also have to consider that politics does not move in a linear direction; if it did, Mujuru would not be struggling as she would be the natural successor,” he said.

But Zanu PF insiders say if Mujuru loses, she is gone.

Grace has not declared her interest in squaring up to Mujuru, but she has attacked her several times at her rallies with the aid of her sponsor Oppah Muchinguri, who is spearheading her campaign.

Youths aligned to Mnangagwa — among them Gokwe-Nembudziya Zanu PF MP Justice Mayor Wadyajena and former youth deputy secretary Edison Chakanyuka — have said Grace should be elevated to the vice-presidency.

The Mnangagwa faction recruited Grace after realising they had lost a lot of ground to the Mujuru faction which had seized control of the Zanu PF politburo, central committee and provincial co-ordinating committees, placing it in good stead to lead the party.

Zanu PF insiders say Grace was willing to jump onto the political boat so that she gets an influential position which would enable her to protect her family and business interests when Mugabe is no longer in office.

She has reportedly fallen out with Mujuru and does not believe Mujuru will protect her interests when Mugabe is no longer in power.

Grace’s entry has rattled the Mujuru faction as it was a bolt from the blue, leaving the veteran politician at sea as congress approaches and her waterloo looms.

9 thoughts on “Mujuru faces waterloo at congress”

  1. Kufandada says:

    There is no way any right thinking Zanoids would vote for Grace to replace war veteran Joyce Mujuru.The army will never salute a non combatant.If Grace is imposed on ZanuPF as Vice President,the party will split and Mujuru could coalesce an acceptable coalition with Dabengwa,Makoni and Tsvangirai,with Tsvangirai and Makoni as Vice Presidents.

  2. Wezhira Wezhara says:

    Media yatanga futi…there’s no way Grace or anyone will try to challenge Mai Mujuru at congress…it’s all hot air by the media…if anything the real fight will be on National Chair as it will mean either the Mjuru camp will control the entire presidium or it will give the ED camp a foot into presidium allowing them to become power brokers

  3. X-Trail says:

    Please Bob and the wailers keep on entertaining the Zimbabweans. The hard-pressed Zimbas need some comic relief. Cde Blackman Matambanadzo must also come into play to beat the daylight out of his Kwekwe colleagues to entertain the crowds. This is the most entertaining period since ZANU PF was formed in 1963. Keep up the good work, Grace and Bob!

  4. Uncle Real says:

    Me thinks December congress will not happen, it will be overtaken by events, like good rains and we will all be busy in our fields doing tobacco, and aha ha! another diamond field will be discovered in Plumtree of somewhere remote and we will all be rushing there. Congress futhi? no time. It will be overtaken by events.

  5. kwa mutare says:

    im looking for a small car rent to buy $200/week
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  6. munyaradzi says:

    well, even if the mujuru faction were to join hands with tsvangirai, the faction that holds the security apparatus will’ WIN ‘any ensuing elections!. when have elections been free and fair in our country. zimbabweans MUST block Grace. This is unacceptable.

  7. dgdgdfg says:


  8. Mapenzi says:

    This Zanu pf drama is awesome. The best show in Zim since attaining independence. We jus hope they upgrade kusvika vava kubayana havo

  9. danger mubaiwa says:

    Its a good diversion after failing to run the economy. Its all covert and overt operation s at play. its only that Grace doesnt know what going on behind the scene.

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