HARARE - It is dog-eat-dog in Joice Mujuru’s newly-formed National People’s Party (NPP) as officials jostle for positions ahead of an elective convention next month.
Mujuru — NPP’s interim leader — will be uncontested as the party’s presidential candidate.
However, according to a list of candidates and the positions that they will be contesting for released by NPP’s directorate after closure of the nominations’ declaration window last Thursday, the race is tight for other top posts.
Some of the most tightly contested posts are those of Mujuru’s two vice presidents — available in accordance with NPP’s constitution — that are being eyed by six candidates.
The six are Samuel Sipepa Nkomo, Bongani Nyathi, Cuthbert Ncube, Linda Dube — all from Bulawayo — and Harare’s Elliot Kasu and John Shumba Mvundura.
NPP spokesperson Jealousy Mawarire confirmed the list, adding that “campaigns have been very civil and...peaceful”.
“Our people are fully aware that the democratic process we are embarking on to choose the party’s leadership is just a way of assigning people to different posts from which they can serve the people in their best capacities, we are not creating bigwigs or Zanu PF-styled chefs,” he said.
“We are electing servants...to deliver change to the people,” Mawarire said.
Insiders told the Daily News that serious jockeying and campaigning is now in full swing, with camps antagonistic to each other over candidate preferences having emerged.
Nkomo, Ncube and Dube are apparently leading the race to fill in the Matabeleland slot, the source claimed, while Mvundura is pushing for Mashonaland province’s representation.
“Candidates have been campaigning underground, since it had not been declared officially that they have been nominated, but now that it’s official, it’s never easy on the ground.
“You cannot really say who is going to get away with the medal, because party members are really divided. We hope these divisions are just but temporary” the source said.
For the national chairperson post, former Zanu PF official and Energy minister Dzikamai Mavhaire will have to sweat it out with Matabeleland South party provincial chairperson Maduma Bekezela Fuzwayo and Wilson Bancinyane
Nelson Mashizha, Hamadziripi Dube, Gift Nyandoro, Patronella Musarurwa and David Butau battling it out for the secretary-general post while Ntuta Bukhosi, Ndou Moffat and Mubaiwa Wilbert will contest for the treasurer-general position.
“The real battle for the secretary-general post is between Nyandoro and Butau, if events on the ground presently are anything to go by.
“They seem to be the leading horses but you never know what happens in a day in politics,” another source said.
The NPP — recently broken away from the Zimbabwe People First (ZPP) party — is currently run by an interim administration headed by Mujuru and is set to hold its inaugural convention early next month to select a substantive leadership ahead of the 2018 elections.
Under the NPP constitution, a national executive council —comprising the president, vice presidents, party chairperson, secretary-general and treasurer — will be the highest decision- making body.
Since her fallout with ZPF founders, Rugare Gumbo and Didymus Mutasa, last month, and the subsequent launch of NPP, Mujuru has been on the campaign trail and rebuilding party structures.