THE death of Vice-President John Nkomo is likely to bring a new dimension to President Robert Mugabe’s succession plan and prompt questions on the relevance of the 1987 Unity Accord.
Nqaba Matshazi Staff Reporter
As per Unity Accord, the deputy will come from former PF Zapu members, with party chairman Simon Khaya Moyo and Mines and Minerals Development minister Obert Mpofu being the most likely candidates to replace him.
Moyo, a former aide of PF Zapu’s founding president Joshua Nkomo, is the front runner in succeeding the late John Nkomo, considering that he is already in the Zanu PF presidium.
Mpofu has also not hidden his ambitions to ascend to the vice-presidency, as he contested Nkomo in 2009.
The Mines minister hopes his popularity and influence in Matabeleland could propel him to the top post. Mpofu, who signed off a letter to Mugabe as “your ever obedient son”, hopes to rise to the vice-presidency through a combination of hard work and patronage.
Deputy Senate President Naison Khutshwekhaya Ndlovu, the remaining most senior PF Zapu member at the Lancaster House constitutional talks, is also interested in the vice-presidency.
Retired Brigadier Ambrose Mutinhiri has also made his ambitions known, saying he was the most senior member of PF Zapu.
But Mugabe is likely to appoint a person from Matabeleland, for tribal balancing in his party.
Nkomo is the third Vice-President from the former PF Zapu to die in office in the past 14 years, after Joshua Nkomo and Joseph Msika, further testing the Unity Accord.
The Unity Accord between PF Zapu and Zanu PF brought to an end a pogrom in Matabeleland and Midlands provinces that saw the killing of more than 20 000 civilians.
On the other hand, Nkomo’s demise is likely to spark contestations for the Zanu PF chairman’s position.
All along the position had been preserved for a former PF Zapu member, but in 2009 after the elevation of Nkomo, Zanu PF secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa unsuccessfully contested for the seat.
The death cannot have come at a worse time for Mugabe who is battling to unite his party ahead of elections this year as Nkomo’s ascendancy had left Zanu PF badly divided.