ZANU PF spokesperson, Simon Khaya Moyo yesterday said the ruling party’s constitution does not recognise seniority as a major qualification to lead the party, after fellow politburo member, Jonathan Moyo insinuated Defence minister Sydney Sekeramayi was more senior than Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa and better placed to succeed President Robert Mugabe.
BY RICHARD CHIDZA
“The President (Mugabe) has urged those making such pronouncements to stop it. When the President speaks, I cannot add,” he said.
“But I must say that our party’s constitution does not pronounce itself on the issue of leadership seniority. Our leadership is chosen at congress and that is what we follow.
“The President has said those making public comments relating to leadership seniority are confusing the people. Our President is elected at congress and, in turn, choses two VPs from central committee members, who would have been nominated by provinces and confirmed by the same congress.”
Higher Education minister Moyo threw the cat among the pigeons last week, when he insinuated that Sekeramayi was better-placed to succeed Mugabe ahead of Mnangagwa.
In his presentation at a Southern African Political and Economic Series public discussion in Harare last week, Moyo claimed Sekeramayi was more senior and socially acceptable to succeed Mugabe.
This comes as former Zanu PF stalwarts — Rugare Gumbo and Didymus Mutasa — backed Mnangagwa, saying he was more senior and better positioned to be anointed successor ahead of Sekeramayi.
“If the truth be told without bias, Mnangagwa is more senior, although I must say this does not matter anymore in Zanu PF. What matters now is the position to which you are appointed by the President, which again would mean Mnangagwa is senior by virtue of the fact that he is Vice-President,” Mutasa, a former State Security minister, said.
“Mnangagwa was in the struggle before Sekeramayi or even me. He was there before Zanu, we joined much late.”
Gumbo concurred, saying: “Sekeramayi was a student in Sweden, while Mnangagwa was very active in Zambia and later Mozambique. When I was a student in the United States, we were not considered to be active, so Sekeramayi was not active.
“However, when he (Sekeramayi) later joined, he was elected to the national executive in 1977 as deputy health secretary. Mnangagwa was special assistant to the president and was later to take up the position of secretary for security in the party.”
Both Gumbo and Mutasa were booted out of the ruling party between 2014 and 2015 on allegations of conniving with former Vice-President Joice Mujuru in an alleged plot to oust Mugabe.
The trio co-founded the opposition Zimbabwe People First party soon after leaving Zanu PF, but later split with Mujuru, who latter went solo to launch the National People’s Party.