Joice Mujuru, Zimbabwe’s vice-president, has been placed in pole position to succeed the ageing Robert Mugabe following Zanu PF’s provincial elections
Joice Mujuru, Zimbabwe’s vice-president, has seized pole position in the race to succeed the ageing Robert Mugabe after her faction of Zanu-PF emerged victorious from the weekend’s provincial party elections, securing her almost unassailable support as leader-in-waiting.
In a blow to her rival, Emmerson Mnangagwa, the feared justice minister, Mrs Mujuru’s supporters won internal elections as chairmen in eight out of nine of the country’s provinces.
The result means she will be unchallenged as senior vice-president at Zanu-PF’s elective congress next December – and, therefore, as heir apparent to the 89-year-old president should he die or retire before the 2018 elections. According to Zimbabwe’s new constitution, the 58-year-old Mrs Mujuru would then also lead Zanu-PF into those elections, smothering the presidential aspirations of Mr Mnangagwa, the former defence minister known as “The Crocodile” for his role in the massacre of thousands of political opponents during the 1980s and the violence of the disputed 2008 election.
“Joice Mujuru has won overwhelming support from the provinces, even though this is not said in public by Zanu-PF. She will be the transition, when Mugabe goes, hopefully to a better Zimbabwe,” said a Zanu-PF insider who asked not to be named.
For decades all senior party leaders, including vice-presidents, routinely denied that they had presidential ambitions. Any who did so felt Mr Mugabe’s wrath. But Mrs Mujuru broke that code of silence when she told the Telegraph: “If the chance comes, then no one will refuse.”
Many inside Zimbabwe and in the region will be celebrating the success of Mrs Mujuru’s supporters in the elections. She is seen as more democratic and compassionate than Mr Mnangagwa, who has heavy backing from the security sector. She became junior vice-president of Zanu-PF in 2004, helped by the backing of her powerful husband, Gen Solomon Mujuru, a popular former army chief who died in a mysterious fire at his farm two years ago.
He was one of only a handful of politicians who stood up to Mr Mugabe and wanted him to step down ahead of the 2008 election. Many, including some in Zanu-PF, believe that Gen Mujuru was killed to prevent him helping his wife’s political advancement.
Colleagues of Morgan Tsvangirai, the leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, who was Zimbabwe’s prime minister until the position was abolished this year, say he developed a friendly and constructive working relationship with Mrs Mujuru during the uneasy coalition government that ended in July. Paul Themba Nyathi, a member of one of the two Movement for Democratic Change factions in Zimbabwe, said Mrs Mujuru was a good compromise if Zanu-PF stayed in power. “I have seen a lot of humanity coming out of her. I got on well with her in parliament,” he said.
Brian Raftopoulos, a Zimbabwe political analyst, said the outcome must make Mrs Mujuru feel “pretty confident”, but added: “We should not rule out that Mugabe may continue to play off one Zanu-PF faction against the other as he has done in the past.”
Piers Pigou, International Crisis Group’s Southern Africa project director, said: “If this represents a shift towards moderation and pragmatism by Zanu-PF, we will expect to see implementation of policies that reflect this.”
NEARLY 150 players are expected to participate at this year’s ZimBuild expo scheduled from November 20-23. The expo has become an annual platform to enhance the infrastructure, building, construction and allied trades in the built environment in the country. Synergies have been developed as a result of this expo which is now in its third year, improving the construction sector’s involvement in planning and budgeting activities at national level. The expo is also an opportunity for the sector to take stock of itself.It is an opportunity for the industry to communicate with the right people and service providers to unveil what is available from the local market and what is not available. “With its conference, exhibition and awards, ZimBuild is an ideal venue great place for representatives of the infrastructure, building and construction sectors and allied trades from Zimbabwe and the region, to meet, showcase products and services, and discuss issues of common interest,” said Monica Kanyepi, the chief executive officer.
Infrastructure delivery and refurbishment, building and construction, are key to igniting economic growth for the nation. ZimBuild has maintained the perspective that the reconstruction and the development of the economy in Zimbabwe should be integrally linked to the reconstruction and development of the construction industry. The past two years the expo has presented an exciting opportunity for the infrastructure cluster in government, private sector, investors and financiers, academia and other players in the built environment to interact. Government is on record saying infrastructure cluster was critical in driving the economic recovery and growth of Zimbabwe, and therefore key to the exhibition and very central to its success.
Apart from the massive corporate support, ZimBuild has the endorsements of the Engineering Council of Zimbabwe, Construction Industry Federation of Zimbabwe, Institute of Architects Zimbabwe, and Zimbabwe Association of Consulting Engineers, Zimbabwe Institution of Engineers, Zimbabwe Institute of Regional and Urban Planners, Real Estate Institute, Zimbabwe Builders Contractors Association, Zimbabwe Construction Industry Council for the Construction Exhibition. At the Global Level, the World Council of Civil Engineers and The Federation of African Engineering Organisations partnered ZimBuild in the execution of this project. The National Employers Council of Zimbabwe representing the construction workers, also endorse the exhibition. —