Zimbabwe: Meet Bigwigs Tipped for Zanu-PF's Chairmanship

Kembo Mohadi

Kembo Mohadi is a ZANU-PF Politburo member currently serving as the co-Minister of Home Affairs. He is one of the longest serving members of the old PF ZAPU. He was detained in the early 1980s following political disturbances that rocked Matabeleland and some parts of the Midlands before President Robert Mugabe signed the Unity Accord with the late vice president Joshua Nkomo in 1987 to end Gukurahundi. A man of few words, Mohadi commands immense respect among his ZANU-PF colleagues. Having previously served as deputy minister of local government, he was appointed Minister of home affairs in August 2002. He was nominated by ZANU-PF as its candidate for the House of Assembly seat from Beitbridge East constituency, in Matabeleland South, in the March 2008 parliamentary election. He won the seat by a large margin. In February 2009, he was appointed co-Home Affairs Minister.

Didymus Mutasa

Currently serving as Minister of State for Presidential Affairs, Didymus Mutasa is the ZANU-PF secretary for administration. Manicaland region has always wanted him elevated to the presidium. Following the elevation of John Nkomo to the position of Vice President after the death of vice president Joseph Msika in August 2009, the province put forward his name for the chairmanship.

Basil Nyabadza, then provincial chairman for Manicaland, had to quit his position in protest after Mutasa failed to land the post. There is a general consensus in Manicaland that it's about time the province is given the post after years of being sidelined. His backers are adamant ZANU-PF should waiver the gentleman's agreement reached between ZANU-PF and PF ZAPU to allow a non PF ZAPU member to fill the position to be left vacant in the event that SK Moyo is elevated.

Following independence in 1980, Mutasa was Zimbabwe's first Speaker of Parliament from 1980 to 1990. He has served as the Member of Parliament for Makoni North and also as ZANU-PF's secretary for external affairs. He was appointed as minister of special affairs in the President's Office in charge of the Anti-Corruption and Anti-Monopolies in February 2004. He was then appointed as state security minister in mid-April 2005, following the March 2005 parliamentary election, later minister of state for national security, lands reform and resettlement in the President's Office. In the March 2008 parliamentary election, Mutasa won the Headlands constituency in Manicaland.

Ambrose Mutinhiri

Ambrose Mutinhiri is ranked as one of the longest surviving members of PF ZAPU who has been long sidelined for the top posts in ZANU-PF. Ex-husband to Tracy Mutinhiri who joined the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T) following her expulsion from ZANU-PF in 2011, Mutinhiri played a critical role in the negotiations that led to the signing of the Unity Accord between the two former sworn enemies, ZANU-PF and PF ZAPU. A former Minister of youth development and employment creation, Mutinhiri is a retired army commander and brigadier. He was appointed as minister of youth development, gender and employment creation in February 2004. He is the present ZANU-PF legislator for Marondera West. While his ex-wife's endorsement of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has not won him many friends in ZANU-PF, those rooting for him say it is high time his seniority in PF ZAPU is recognised. Just like Didymus Mutasa, he was also in the running for the chairmanship in 2009 following the elevation of John Nkomo to the position of Vice President. He is likely to be in the running again once Simon Khaya Moyo has moved up the ladder.

Emmerson Mnangagwa

Emmerson Mnangagwa is arguably one of the longest serving members of ZANU-PF alive. He is the current Minister of Defence. Mnangagwa has long been mentioned as President Robert Mugabe's heir-apparent. His backers believe it is his time to be elevated to the presidium, putting him in good stead to land the coveted top job in the land. He was previously minister of state security from 1980 to 1988, then minister of justice,legal and parliamentary Affairs until 2000; he was Speaker of Parliament from July 2000 to 2005 and minister of rural housing and social amenities from April 2005 to February 2009. He became the first minister of national security from 1980 at independence to 1988. From 1988 to 2000, he was minister of justice, legal and parliamentary affairs and leader of the House. This was the period following the Unity Accord. He was appointed acting minister of finance for 15 months from 1995 to 1996. Mnangagwa was defeated in the 2000 parliamentary election by Blessing Chebundo of the MDC in Kwekwe constituency, but President Mugabe appointed him to one of the unelected seats in Parliament. Following the appointment, he was elected as Speaker of Parliament on July 18, 2000. In the March 2005 parliamentary election, he was again defeated by Chebundo in Kwekwe, and President Mugabe again appointed him to an unelected seat. In the March 2008 parliamentary election, he stood as ZANU-PF's candidate in the new Chirumanzi-Zibagwe rural constituency and won by an overwhelming margin. Mnangagwa was President Mugabe's chief election agent during the 2008 presidential election.

Sydney Sekeramai

Sydney Sekeramai is also being mentioned as an outside contender for the post. He is a ZANU-PF Politburo member who has served as Cabinet minister since independence in 1980. He has been the health minister before. He was minister of defence from 2001 to 2009, and he has been Minister of State Security since 2009. Sekeramai's name is being brought up by ZANU-PF members in Mashonaland East peeved by the fact that the province has had no representation in the presidium since independence in 1980.

Sikhanyiso Duke Ndlovu

Sikhanyiso Ndlovu is one of the surviving members of the former PF ZAPU. A former deputy education minister, Ndlovu was appointed as minister of information and publicity in 2007. A member of the ZANU-PF Politburo, Ndlovu was close and loyal to the late leader of PF ZAPU, the late vice president Joshua Nkomo.

Ndlovu, a former Member of Parliament for Mpopoma constituency in Bulawayo, was detained together with the late Vice President during the war of liberation. Although he surrendered the constituency in June 2000 to the late MDC-T legislator Milton Gwetu before again losing it to the present Member of Parliament, Samson Khumalo, in the 2008 harmonised election, he has remained a loyal member of ZANU-PF. A respected educationist and founder of a private college that trained most freedom fighters soon after independence, Ndlovu is the ZANU-PF secretary for education. He has written several policy documents on education.

Obert Mpofu

Currently serving as Minister of Mines and Mining Development, Obert Mpofu is a ZANU-PF Politburo member and secretary for economic affairs. Previously he was minister of industry and international trade and governor of Matabeleland North.. His critics accuse him of flaunting his wealth to endear himself with the electorate and some officials in ZANU-PF. While he is no longer considered on the PF ZAPU slate after joining ZANU-PF before the signing of the Unity Accord, his supporters say he stands in good stead to wrestle the post of national chairman from other aspirants due to his current contribution to the party. He is one of the few ZANU-PF politicians with a constituency in Matabeleland. He is the legislator for Umguza. Mpofu, openly bid for the post of VP in 2009 against Nkomo, but had his efforts stumped by ZANU-PF hawks at the 11th hour who warned him to respect the party's hierarchy. If the same benchmark is to be applied, political observers opine that Mpofu's chances of becoming the next ZANU-PF chairman remain slim as he is down the order in ZANU-PF.

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