Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa has been systematically axed from succeeding President Robert Mugabe, it has emerged.
Mnangagwa was exposed by his boss Mugabe for leading a faction aiming to replace him. This was affirmed during the last politburo meeting in December just before Joice Mujuru was booted from Zanu-PF leadership. Weeks later it was revealed Mugabe has been so afraid of Mnangagwa that he hired Mnangagwa’s wife as a secret agent to spy in on him.
President Mugabe’s unexpected remarks that none of his two deputies, Emmerson Mnangagwa and Phelekezela Mphoko, are guaranteed to succeed him have fuelled tensions in the faction-riddled Zanu-PF amid reports that two cliques – one led by Mnangagwa and the other by First Lady Grace – are on a collision course, writes the Standard.
In an interview to mark his 91st birthday, Mugabe told Zimbabwe Television (ZTV) last week that his successor would come from any level of the party, throwing the pigeon among the cats in the process.
“A successor can come from any level of the party but usually the top levels, the central committee, the politburo,” Mugabe said.
“It may not be either of the VPs, it’s up to the people who choose who they think, at the particular time, is the most suitable candidate for the presidency, vodiscusserka (and debate on the candidate’s suitability). That’s how it should be. I was not appointed successor by anyone.”
Factionalism has taken root once again in the party despite the significant weakening of the faction led by former vice-president Joice Mujuru.
Zanu-PF insiders told Zimbabwe Independent this week that although the faction led by Mnangagwa had made significant inroads in controlling the party, another force is consolidating and coalescing around Grace, who because of her proximity to Mugabe, has become a key player in the party.
The two camps, which joined hands in the run up to the December congress to thwart the Mujuru faction, are now engaged in a battle to control the party after getting rid of the common enemy. The Mujuru camp, however, remains active in Zanu-PF despite being emasculated.