Nkomo sworn in as vice President

President Mugabe told delegates at a party congress on Saturday that the former Zanu PF chairman will be sworn in into the powerful position on Monday afternoon.

"I will tell you a secret that I have not told any other person other than Robert Mugabe," a grinning President Mugabe said as he deliveredhis acceptance speech as leader of the party for the next five years.

"What I told this man who is your President was ‘since you are also the President of not just Zanu PF but of Zimbabwe as a whole, this newman who is Vice President should be sworn in as Vice President of Zimbabwe on Monday’.

Nkomo, a former PF Zapu stalwart led by the late Vice President Joshua Nkomo, which united with President Mugabe’s Zanu PF in 1987, will take over the post left by the late vice President Joseph Msika, who died in August after a long illness.

Under the 1987 unity accord, one of President Mugabe’s two vice presidents should come from the former PF Zapu.

At party level, Nkomo smothered a fierce challenge from some party heavyweights such as Mines Minister Obert Mpofu, Bulawayo governor Cain Matema and Senate deputy president Naison Khutshwekhaya Ndlovu.

But critics view Nkomo’s ascendancy into the coveted post as having been influenced by his closeness to President Mugabe. Nkomo is said to be among some Zanu PF politicians who are despised from their under developed Matebeleland home area for alleged abandoning of the region.

One of Zanu-PF’s elderly statesmen, the widowed Nkomo was born in 1934 in the Tsholotsho District of Matabeleland North province.

Nkomo has been the national chairman for Zanu-PF since 1999 and has served in the capacities of Deputy Minister of Industry and Energy in1981, Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office (1982-1984),Minister of Labour, Manpower Planning and Social Welfare (1988-1992)and Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare,(1992-1995).

Between 1995 and 1997, Nkomo was Minister of Local Government, Ruraland Urban Development, then minister in the renamed Ministry of Local Government and National Housing, (1997-1999) and Minister of HomeAffairs, (2000-2002).

He was Speaker of Parliament until 2005.