By James Muonwa
THERE is gnashing of teeth within Zanu PF amid the impending announcement of a new Politburo expected to usher fresh blood and relegate the old guard to the peripheries.
The current Politburo will be dissolved during congress.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa will today preside over a crucial party Central Committee (CC) meeting in Harare, where constitutional amendments would be made in order to create additional Politburo portfolios to reward both loyalists and workhorses.
Fresh faces, as well as returnees, to the powerful Politburo are expected to be named on the final day of congress, Saturday. Mnangagwa has reportedly kept the list a closely guarded secret.
Zanu PF insiders told NewZimbabwe.com the octogenarian leader wanted to ring changes to his inner circle in a power preservation matrix, which would result in purging of some of his contemporaries, and replacing them with ‘Young Turks.’
The 80-year-old Zanu PF leader Wednesday hinted of the surprise omissions of traditional holders of key posts, who will be shunted to an obsure body to be known as “Council of Elders.”
Zanu PF bigwigs must adjust to life as ordinary card-carrying members following announcement of a new Politburo, he said.
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“In whatever portfolios the party assigns us in the future, let us maintain the momentum we have demonstrated to date, while at the same time providing appropriate guidance to the lower structures of the party,” Mnangagwa said while officially opening the penultimate Politburo Wednesday.
“No matter our portfolios in the future, let us remain unflinching and consistent as loyal, patriotic and committed members of Zanu PF emboldened by the fact that in our party, leaders at every level are servants of the people, as such the most important position in Zanu PF is to be a card-carrying member.
“The enthusiasm which was shown across the party amply demonstrates that Zanu PF is alive and remains the only true defender of that we fought for.”
Mnangagwa is expected to balance loyalty and competence ahead of his 2023 re-election bid.
Sources say constitutional changes would create new portfolios such as mines, and that of sport and arts, which will have substantive secretaries and deputies.
A surprise inclusion could be Local Government Deputy Minister, Marian Chombo, who owes to her cherry-picking and proverbial nine lives within Zanu PF to supposed close links to First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa, who is also expected to stay in the elite league.
Another cadre touted to make a shock entry into the Politburo is newly elected Bulawayo Central Committee member and treasury chief, Mthuli Ncube, who will likely land the finance secretary post traditionally held by Patrick Chinamasa.
ICT Minister, Jenfan Muswere of Manicaland is tipped for the technology portfolio owing to his unparalleled professional competencies and experience.
Controversial Mnangagwa blue-eyed boy, Zanu PF Midlands Deputy Chairperson, Edison Chiherenge, is set to be unveiled as substantive youth secretary, a post previously held by the late Absolom Sikhosana who stayed in that portfolio for over a decade during late former president Robert Mugabe’s rule.
Mnangagwa, sources said, would keep his two party deputies, Constantino Chiwenga and Kembo Mohadi, in their respective posts.
According to Article 8 of the Zanu PF Constitution, immediately after election of President and first secretary and members of the Central Committee, the President shall appoint from the newly-elected Central Committee two vice-presidents and second secretaries, the national chairperson, heads of departments of the Politburo, committee members of the Politburo and deputies to heads of departments.
The congress taking place at Robert Mugabe Square in Harare, starts this Thursday and ends Saturday.