Although there is no written clause in the 1987 Unity Accord signed between the original ZANU PF and the former PF ZAPU, the united ZANU PF has maintained that the presidium should at all time comprises of four people from both revolutionary parties.

But in the run-up to the nominations for the post of national chairman, there were maneuvers to nominate non PF ZAPU leaders, prominent among them Didymus Mutasa who was nominated by Manicaland province.  

However, in an apparent move meant to preserve the Unity Accord, some senior party officials on Monday night moved with speed to whip into line cadres that wanted to parachute non-former PF ZAPU cadres into the Presidium.

ZANU PF called a crisis meeting of provincial leaders from the three Mashonaland province and Harare to arm-twist them into nominating Simon Khaya Moyo for national chairman instead of Mutasa, the party’s current secretary for administration.

It is understood that some hardliners in ZANU PF, miffed by the poor showing of the party in Matabeleland, wanted to upset the current arrangement by parachuting a non former PF ZAPU member, in a clear defiance of the gentleman’s agreement entered into between President Mugabe and the late vice President Joshua Nkomo.

“There was a crisis meeting on Monday night where the four provinces were whipped into line to nominate former PF ZAPU cadres into the presidium to save the unity accord from collapse as it is general felt that they should occupy two posts there,” said a source privy to the latest developments which saw John Nkomo and SK Moyo being nominated for the posts of second vice president and national chairman respectively.

Sikhanyiso Ndlovu, the political head of the ZANU PF Bulawayo province who was instrumental in the nomination of both Nkomo and SK Moyo, yesterday thanked the three Mashonaland and Harare for playing what he said was a major role in the salvation of the unity accord from being violated.

Ndlovu, who doubles up as the national secretary for education in the ZANU PF politburo, former PF ZAPU cadres were elated that the unity accord had been preserved.

“There is no victor nor vanquished,” he said. “We are celebrating the affirmation of unity and urge all party cadres to work together, former PF ZAPU and original ZANU PF. We should stop this regionalism and tribalism and be united as a party so that we win the next elections.”

On Monday, Ndlovu wrote to the ZANU PF leadership complaining about what the Bulawayo province felt was the abuse of the state media to “wrongly” influence other provinces that had awaited the direction from Matabeleland regarding the nominations for national chairman.

In their letter of complaint, the Bulawayo province chided Mutasa, saying he should have known better that he was not from former PF ZAPU.

“The position of National Chair although not written in the Unity Accord became former PF-ZAPU position by an unwritten agreement and by convention to balance the Presidium representation of the former ZANU-PF and PF- ZAPU,” said Ndlovu in the letter in our possession. 

“Comrade RG Mugabe President and Comrade Muzenda Vice President; represented former ZANU-PF; Comrade Joshua M Nkomo, Vice President and Comrade J Msika National Chairman, represented PF-ZAPU. PF-ZAPU Congress at the City Sports Centre in 1987 ratified this arrangement and this has been so all along. We strongly believe that the Unity arrangements must not be tampered with,” it added. 

Mutasa was not immediately available for comment but it remains to be seen whether the ZANU PF congress in December would retain Mutasa as secretary for administration or reassign him following his ambition that threatened to shake the foundation of the Unity Accord.

Observers say the composition of the new presidium further complicates the battle to President Mugabe.

Meanwhile ZANU PF announced to the state-owned Herald on Friday that it had shifted its dates for the annual congress from the first weekend of December to the second.