Joram Gumbo, Zanu PF’s chief whip, told reporters after a meeting of the party’s MPs on Wednesday that the politburo had endorsed the choice of Khaya Moyo.
Khaya-Moyo, currently the Zanu PF’s chairman, will face-off with deposed Speaker Lovemore Moyo (MDC-T) in the vote by secret ballot on a date yet to be announced.
The former Speaker was removed from the chair after the Supreme Court found irregularities in his election on August 25, 2008. Six MPs displayed their filled ballots to the MDC-T’s parliamentary leadership against voting rules.
The Welshman Ncube-led MDC has said it will not contest the poll and has ordered its seven MPs to vacate the chamber before the closely-balanced vote. Zanu PF has 96 MPs, the same number as MDC-T, although former Speaker Moyo insists that he still represents his constituency of Matobo North and is pushing for recognition.
In a statement, Ncube’s MDC said: “The MDC is focusing more on party building and preparing for future elections. The party has decided to make a strategic retreat in the contest for speakership, leaving the fight to Zanu PF and Tsvangirai’s MDC considering that the two are insincere partners.
“As things stand, there is no change of heart regarding the party position on the issue. Mugabe and Tsvangirai should keep their Arthur Mutambara and we will keep our votes.”
Addressing concerns that some of its seven MPs may have struck deals with either Zanu PF or MDC-T to defy the party directive, the MDC warned: “The party has the capacity to deal with political prostitutes in its ranks if there are any.”