Zimbabwe ruling party dodges Mugabe debate

2014-10-25 22:51
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe. (AP)

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe. (AP)

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Harare - Zimbabwe's ruling Zanu-PF politburo has brought forward a crunch elective congress but did not debate factional fighting threatening to tear the party apart, its spokesperson said on Saturday.

"We discussed the congress. The dates have been changed," party spokesperson Rugare Gumbo said.

Gumbo said the congress to choose new party leaders would start on 2 December instead of in the second week of the month as earlier planned.

President Robert Mugabe chaired the meeting of Zanu-PF'S supreme decision-making body, which was also attended by his Vice-President Joice Mujuru.

Gumbo said the meeting did not discuss recent attacks by Mugabe's wife Grace on her political rivals, including Mujuru.

"We did not discuss anything regarding that," Gumbo said.

"It was a normal politburo meeting. We were supposed to get a report from the women's league secretary Oppah Muchinguri. She asked that she give the report next week."

Power positions

Zanu-PF has been rocked by factional feuding over a successor to 90-year-old Mugabe, who has been in power since 1980.

The battle escalated following the surprise nomination of Mugabe's wife Grace to lead the powerful women's wing, amid speculation that she could be aiming to take over from her husband when he steps down or dies.

Following her nomination she launched a campaign disparaging her opponents, accusing Mujuru of fomenting division in the party and plotting to topple Mugabe.

Mujuru and powerful Justice Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa - who in the past controlled the secret police and military - are seen as the leading contenders to replace Mugabe.

Mugabe is expected to be confirmed as the party's leader at the congress, but the fight for positions on the powerful politburo could be decisive for the campaign to succeed him.

Read more on:    zimbabwe  |  southern africa

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