Panic and anxiety has gripped many Zanu PF bigwigs ahead of the party’s elective congress this week with most of them unsure where they will stand after the event.
Sources said the old guard, previously sidelined in President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s Cabinet in 2018 to focus solely on party business, is waiting to see if they will be thrown into a new Council of Elders which is expected to be formed at the congress.
Mnangagwa has been on a drive to consolidate his hold on power across all structures, and is expected to balance loyalty and competence ahead of his 2023 re-election bid.
Under article 8 of the Zanu PF constitution, soon after the election of the 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, the heads of departments of the politburo, the committee members of the politburo and the deputies to the heads of departments.
While it remains to be seen how the new council of elders will work, fears are that this would be a retirement home or a place for officials deemed redundant.
Newly elected central committee members also wait eagerly with the hope to be appointed into the politburo while current members of the politburo will be hoping to retain their seats.
Major surprises are expected after some previously sidelined or suspended party members sprang to victory in the recent central committee elections.
Party bigwigs are reportedly burning the midnight oil to retain their posts in the politburo ahead of the party’s elective congress as Mnangagwa keeps his cards close to his chest.
The politburo is expected to be dissolved in line with its constitution. The party leader will then appoint his new politburo, with members drawn from the recently elected central committee members.
Some members who have lost their politburo positions are former youth boss Tendai Chirau, former information minister Christopher Mushohwe and Cain Mathema after they lost in the recently held central committee elections.
“We are expecting some surprises in the new politburo, just new faces.
“Mnangagwa is expected to appoint a new look politburo from the newly elected central committee members,” a source said.
Finance minister Mthuli Ncube who has just entered into the political ring after winning in the central committee elections is one of the members expected to be appointed to the Politburo.
Mnangagwa top ally and Information Communication and Technology (ICT) minister Jenfan Muswere is also tipped to earn a position in the Politburo.
Former youth boss Lewis Mathuthu will also be eyeing a post in the Politburo.
Efforts to get a comment from Zanu PF secretary for legal affairs Paul Mangwana and spokesperson Chris Mutsvangwa were fruitless at the time of going to print.