News and Information

Cracks starting to show in Mugabe's party
November 24, 2004
Basildon Peta
November 24 2004 at 01:16PM

Harare - President Robert Mugabe is set to remain a key feature of Zimbabwe's political landscape for some years after his ruling party's 10 provincial executive committees unanimously nominated him for a new term.

The nomination announced by the party's secretary for information and publicity, Nathan Shamuyarira, is to be ratified at the Zanu-PF five-yearly congress that opens next week.

It follows the nomination of Water Resources Minister Joyce Mujuru for the coveted co-vice presidency slot left vacant by the death of Simon Muzenda.

Co-vice president Joseph Msika, who was elevated to the position after the death of nationalist Joshua Nkomo, is due to retain his post, as is party chairperson John Nkomo.

'There are divisive elements that are developing within our party'
Mugabe, 80, will remain party leader until 2009 when he will be 86. His term as president of the country ends in 2008.

But even if he does not seek re-election in 2008 he has hinted he wants to remain party leader.

His nomination is likely to disappoint many who regard him as Zimbabwe's greatest liability.

The decision to agree to and announce the nominations a week before congress seems to have been aimed at avoiding bitter wrangling.

But it remains far from certain that this strategy will work.

Supporters of Speaker of Parliament Emmerson Mnangagwa, who was long touted as Mugabe's successor but whose chances have now been completely eliminated by Mujuru's elevation, are not taking it lying down.

They are believed to be planning to disrupt the ratification process and call for new nominations and open elections of party leaders at the congress.

But Mugabe has already signalled he won't tolerate any disruption of the congress, referring to the dissenters as being sponsored by British and white capitalists.

Mujuru's nomination and Mnangagwa's demise have sharply divided Zanu-PF and widened rifts among tribal formations in the party that wanted their own candidates in pole positions to succeed Mugabe.

The cracks have forced Mugabe to openly acknowledge that there is infighting in the senior ranks of his party.

Mugabe, who has been touring rural schools and donating computers, said: "There are divisive elements that are developing within our party, that we must take care of."


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