Zanu-PF congress ends, deputies not announced

2014-12-07 13:17
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe delivers his speech during the official opening of the Zanu-PF 6th National Congress in Harare. (Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi, AP)

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe delivers his speech during the official opening of the Zanu-PF 6th National Congress in Harare. (Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi, AP)

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Harare - Zimbabwe's longtime President Robert Mugabe on Saturday said he did not want to "rush to choose people" as he closed his party congress without announcing who his two vice presidents will be.

"I could not rush to choose people, to look which... people we could put into the politburo," Mugabe told around 12 000 or so delegates gathered for the congress, which was widely expected to see the demotion of Joice Mujuru, Mugabe's current deputy.

The former army general's widow has been accused of corruption and plotting to unseat Mugabe by the president and his wife, backed by state media. Vice presidents are normally picked from the ranks of the politburo.

"We will set up the politburo next week. So I don't want to rush it. So be patient. Next week, by Wednesday or Thursday, we will make an announcement," the president said.

Mugabe hits out at Mujuru

Without mentioning Mujuru by name, Mugabe, who was on Saturday confirmed leader of the party and hence Zanu-PF candidate in the 2018 elections, said: "there will be many goodbyes. Some have already chosen by their own irregular acts to bid us farewell".

"We are not sending them away except for those we expel. You can be an ordinary member. They will have more time to do their farming, to grow maize and potatoes."

In a clear reference to Mujuru and her ministerial allies, the 90-year-old president referred to a "group within us [that] was planning to undertake a destructive operation".

"That problem has been handled and handled properly and the party is very safe. The leaders are safe and I hope all of you will also have that sense of security," he said.

Some feel cheated

In a thoughtful tone, in direct contrast to his jubilation earlier in the day, Mugabe said: "The soccer we played here is not the soccer of scoring goals against each other. We want to score goals against the problems, the problems of hunger, under-development, also intellectual hunger".

But his failure to announce the vice presidents left some feeling cheated.

"Mugabe giving closing remarks at Zanu-PF congress, perhaps he forgot to appoint his deputies?" prominent analyst @Dewamavhinga tweeted.

"Where are the fireworks we were promised by the media and analysts?" tweeted @zenzele, an editor at Radio Dialogue in Bulawayo.

Read more on:    zanu-pf  |  joyce mujuru  |  robert mugabe  |  zimbabwe  |  southern africa

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