By Mthulisi Mathuthu
SW Radio Africa
10 January 2013
Dumiso Dabengwa could become the next co-Vice President if President Mugabe succeeds in luring him back to ZANU PF, reports this week suggested.
A Friday report in the Zimbabwe Independent said that Mugabe is courting Dabengwa to take up the post, which has been vacant since the death of John Nkomo in January last year.
According to the paper, the reports of Mugabe’s offer lend credence to speculation about why ZANU PF has not yet announced Nkomo’s replacement.
The post of the second Vice President is a preserve for former ZAPU members in line with the 1987 Unity Accord between the party and ZANU PF.
At the moment ZANU PF national chairman Simon Khaya Moyo is the most senior former ZAPU member who could land the post if Dabengwa declines Mugabe’s offer.
Dabengwa himself is quoted in the Zimbabwe Independent as saying that he has no problem with returning to ZANU PF if the conditions set by ZAPU are met.
According to the report Dabengwa said a ‘position paper’ had been sent to Mugabe’s party stipulating ZAPU’s conditions for rejoining ZANU PF.
In an interview with SW Radio Africa last week, Dabengwa said ZAPU wanted the war records which were seized at the height of the 1980s Gukurahundi genocide returned.
In the same interview, Dabengwa said his party wants the government to return the properties which it summarily grabbed from a holding company Nitram (Pvt) Ltd combining the party properties and those bought from contributions by the ZAPU war veterans.
Dabengwa’s comments came after Mugabe made a passionate plea for Dabengwa and ZAPU colleagues to reconsider their pull out from ZANU PF five years ago.
SW Radio Africa correspondent, Lionel Saungweme, said the report in this week’s Zimbabwe Independent was ‘plausible’ because ZANU PF has been trying to lure Dabengwa back since last year.
However, Saungweme said indications are that ZANU PF ‘will not meet’ the demands spelt out by Dabengwa. He cited ZANU PF secretary for administration and presidential affairs minister, Didymus Mutasa’s recent comments in which he said that the properties in question were automatically transferred to ZANU PF at the signing of the Unity Accord.
According to Saungweme most ZAPU cadres deny the existence of a ‘position paper’ setting conditions of return to ZANU PF, which Dabengwa claims was sent to Mugabe’s party.
Saungweme said Dabengwa’s comments in the Independent may be his ‘personal views and not those of the party.’ He said most ZAPU cadres simply want their properties back and have no interest in Mugabe’s politics anymore.
Since the article was first published on Friday, Dumiso Dabengwa has denied being formally approached by Mugabe