Zanu PF faction moves to ring-fence Mugabe in succession war – From Zim Online (SA), 5 January

January 5, 2006 at 5:16 pm Leave a comment

Harare – President Robert Mugabe will have a new spokesman and security staff appointed by his ruling Zanu PF party in what insiders was an attempt by a faction of the party controlled by powerful former army general Solomon Mujuru to consolidate influence on the ageing President…

Mugabe’s present state-employed spokesman George Charamba, security and other support staff would retain their jobs with those appointed by Zanu PF chiefly serving to ring-fence the 81-year old President and control access to him as jostling for his job intensifies ahead of his expected retirement in 2008, sources told Zim Online. “The party will appoint its own presidential spokesman, while General Mujuru has been tasked to head a team that will scout for a presidential security team that shall report to Zanu PF,” said a source, who is a member of the ruling party’s inner politburo cabinet. He added: “The government presidential staff will be required to liaise with the party appointed presidential support staff.” The Zanu PF official, whose name we cannot reveal, said it was not clear when exactly the full complement of Zanu PF-appointed presidential staff will be in place. But the official said Mugabe had, just before going on his annual leave at the beginning of this month, rejected proposals by Zanu PF information secretary Nathan Shamuyarira to appoint the ruling party’s deputy director, Gadzira Chirumhanzu, as presidential spokesman. Mugabe is said to have told Shamuyarira to look for a better candidate.

Mujuru, who is said to be behind the plan to virtually construct a wall around Mugabe to blockade his rival for influence in Zanu PF – former parliamentary speaker Emmerson Mnangagwa – from easy access to the President, could not be reached for comment on the matter yesterday. But Shamuyarira confirmed the planned appointments although he denied these were linked to the silent but vicious battle to control Zanu PF after Mugabe’s departure. Shamuyarira told Zim Online: “I can see you want to pry in on our internal affairs. We are simply strengthening our security and yes we will have a separate spokesman for the President who will report to the party. That’s all I can say at the moment.” Mujuru’s wife, Joyce, is Zanu PF and Zimbabwe’s second Vice-President and is well positioned to succeed Mugabe when and if he steps down in two years’ time. But there remains no guarantee Mujuru’s wife will succeed Mugabe especially because Mnangagwa – for long considered Mugabe’s heir apparent before being beaten to the vice-presidency by Joyce at the eleventh hour – is not yet totally vanquished as a contender for the top job. Another worry for Mujuru and his wife is the fact that Mugabe, although aged and clearly weaker than before, remains too strong both within Zanu PF and the government and could still hand over the baton to anyone else besides Joyce. According to our sources, Mujuru’s faction sponsored the resolution to restructure Zanu PF’s security and information departments during the party’s annual conference last month. The resolution was however not made public. “Besides monitoring access to Mugabe the idea is also to dilute the growing influence of the President’s inner staff especially people like Charamba and the security guys,” said another senior Zanu PF official, who also cannot be named.

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Entry filed under: Future, Present, Zimbabwe Politics.

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