A fierce power struggle has erupted in the Zanu PF faction aligned to Justice minister Emmerson Mnangagwa over who should be selected to be President Robert Mugabe’s number two after the ruling party’s December elective congress if Vice President Joice Mujuru is ousted.
It has been established that Mnangagwa, Oppah Muchinguri, First Lady Grace Mugabe, and Edna Madzongwe all believe they could take over from Mujuru.
So intense is the jockeying for the coveted vice president post, amid indications that whoever gets it will in all likelihood succeed the nonagenarian, that “peace talks” are apparently underway to contain the fallout in the camp associated with some of the party’s most notorious hardliners.
The news crew has, however, been told that at the end of the day, the First Family, particularly Grace, who seems to be wielding influence over her 90-year-old husband, will decide who becomes the next vice president.
Sources in the faction yesterday said the fact that Grace, who has almost secured her position at the party’s top table as boss of the Women’s League, has not stopped campaigning even after being assured of this post, had triggered fears within the camp that she was aiming higher, for the VP position that the Zanu PF constitution reserves for a woman.
Grace herself said at her so-called “Meet the People” rallies last month that she had every right to aim even for the presidency of the party and government.
“She (Mujuru) says I want to be president. Why not? Am I not a citizen of Zimbabwe? Why do you think only you are fit?” she said then.
“The First Lady is enjoying her moment in politics as evidenced by the fact that everyone of importance has gone to her Mazowe Farm to pay homage to her … (as a result) she now believes that she can go for any position,” said one of the sources.
But it would appear that the real tussle for the VP post among the faction’s senior female politicians is between outgoing Women’s League boss Muchinguri and current Senate president Madzongwe.
Although both women religiously attend Grace’s Mujuru-bashing shindigs, meaning that they are spending a lot of time in each other’s company, the sources said there is evident mistrust between the two.
Apparently, Mugabe’s powerful Gushungo clan, which has been at the forefront of Grace’s rabble-rousing rallies, prefers to have Madzongwe picked for the vice presidency post, ahead of Muchinguri.
“Oppah is too combative and has also lost the elections (Zanu PF’s) for vice president to Joice Mujuru before.
“As it is, she is in Parliament only because of proportional representation and therefore she is unfit to be the vice president.
“On the other hand, Mai Madzongwe is a motherly figure who can at least have the appeal that Mujuru has,” said another source within the camp.
However, the source added that Oppah, who willingly — some of her critics say expediently — offered her influential Women’s League post to Grace wanted to be rewarded with a higher position, particularly as it appeared that she enjoyed the support of the majority of the people in the Mnangagwa camp, especially those who were not related to Mugabe.
“The real crisis, of course, is that Mnangagwa is the godfather of the faction, and he is weighing his chances of scooping the top post if he is able.
“As head of the legal department, his real problem is how to amend the Zanu PF constitution to remove the clause that reserves the second VP post for a woman.
“Still, I would be very surprised if any of the ladies can take this post ahead of Ngwena (Mnangagwa’s nickname), and obviously Gushungo (Mugabe) will have the last say in all this,” he said.
Mnangagwa is said to be persuading Matabeleland regions to nominate a woman vice president so that he enhances his chances of landing the party’s number two post.
Source: Daily News