Thursday, December 25, 2014

Mnangagwa Not Guaranteed Presidency: Moyo
Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe with new Vice-Presidents
Emerson Mnangagwa and Phelekezele Mphoko.
Dec 23 2014 - 8:52am
By Tendai Kamhungira

HARARE – Information minister Jonathan Moyo has set tongues wagging with his comments at the weekend that Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s rise to the position did not mean that he would automatically take over from President Robert Mugabe when the 90-year-old leaves office.

Analysts who spoke to the Daily News were baffled by why Moyo had felt compelled to comment on the thorny succession issue now, given that the subject had proven to be seriously divisive in the ruling party — leading to the brutal purging of former vice president Joice Mujuru and all officials perceived to be loyal to her.

In an interview carried by State media yesterday, Moyo said both the Zanu PF and the country’s constitutions did not prescribe that Mugabe should designate his successor, an averment that was supported by Mugabe’s nephew Patrick Zhuwao in his weekly column in the same State media.

What made Moyo’s comments even more interesting is that since Mnangagwa’s appointment, temperatures have allegedly been rising within the faction that propelled the party strongman to power — amid talk that the faction of party hardliners was reportedly locked in a nasty and escalating dogfight among themselves.

A senior Zanu PF official even claimed in an interview with the Daily News last week that Moyo did not “entirely trust Mnangagwa” since the 2004 Tsholotsho Declaration, which allegedly saw the VP dumping his followers who were savagely dealt with by Mugabe for plotting a coup against the 90-year-old.

And by having risen from the ashes of that Tsholotsho debacle so spectacularly, many analysts and Zanu PF members alike have been of the opinion that Mnangagwa was now crown prince and that the leadership of both the party and the country were now his to lose.

Political analyst Pedzisayi Ruhanya said yesterday, Mnangagwa’s ascendency to power had not been sanctioned by Moyo or Zhuwao.

He also said apart from being Mugabe’s nephew, Zhuwao was “a nobody” in Zanu PF, adding that all top party and government appointments were the sole preserve of Mugabe and top securocrats.

“If Mugabe fails through incapacitation, Mnangagwa will become the leader of Zanu PF and government and surely he will not fail.

“What this camp is doing is to make sure that Mnangagwa does not fall in the same trap as Mujuru. Moyo and Zhuwao are not necessarily enemies of Mnangagwa,” he said.

However, soon after Mujuru’s purge, respected political commentator and University of Zimbabwe lecturer Eldred Masunungure, told the Daily News that Mujuru’s ouster would not translate into Mnangagwa’s automatic ascendency to the highest seat in government.

He said there were now two main factions in Zanu PF — namely the Gushungo (Mugabe’s totem) and Mnangagwa factions.

He said the two factions had operated as one to destroy the Mujuru camp and it now remained to be seen if they could work together.

“The other two factions coalesced against Mujuru and now that they have decimated that faction, the question is, which one remains the most dominant?

“To me the Gushungo faction is now in control of the party because Mugabe knows that real power lies in the party not in the government, so Mnangagwa may not be the winner after all,” he said.

Moyo and Zhuwao are considered not just to be part of the Mnangagwa faction, but also members of the so-called “Gang of Four” that also comprises senior party bigwigs Oppah Muchinguri and Savior Kasukuwere.

The Daily News reported last week that the Mnangagwa camp was allegedly deeply mired in intra-faction brawls, amid suggestions that the “Gang of Four” was looking forward to grab more power in the party — and that it was allegedly not happy with Mnangagwa’s ascendency — on account of the fact that he had allegedly played a minor role in Mujuru’s ouster.

“It would be unconstitutional and indeed undemocratic for the president to do that. As such, those who want the president to designate a successor are either charlatans or enemies of constitutionalism and democracy,” Moyo told the lapdog Sunday Mail yesterday.

Moyo claimed further that there were people who were bent on confusing an appointment with an anointment, adding that the Zanu PF constitution and the Constitution of Zimbabwe did not provide for the anointment of a successor.

“And in the case of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, the current succession provision does not allow for automatic elevation but requires the political party of the previous incumbent to nominate the successor in accordance with its internal constitutional procedures, and the Zanu PF constitutional procedure provides for the convening of an extraordinary Congress to elect a successor should that be necessary.

“Anyone who wants to succeed president Mugabe will have to win the hearts and minds first of the membership of Zanu PF and then of Zimbabweans,” he said.

On the other hand, Zhuwao described the averments that Mnangagwa would automatically take over from Mugabe, by virtue of being a VP, as “mischievous”.

“The appointments are not about succession, nor are the appointments about succession’s toxic cousin, factionalism. The newspapers of December 11, 2014 had headlines like ‘It’s Mnangagwa’ and ‘Mnangagwa finally arrives’.

“This narrative is further bolstered by the mention of a non-existent distinction between the two VPs by seeking to address Cde Mnangagwa as the ‘First Vice President’. This is then reinforced by mischievous statements that say VP Mnangagwa has been set to succeed president Mugabe,” Zhuwao said.

He added, “Such a narrative naturally leads to high expectations by those who are close to and are part of VP Mnangagwa’s family in both the natural sense and the political one. The exuberance can quite easily result in such statements as the ones attributed to honourable Josaya Hungwe which have been described as ‘blasphemous praise singing’”.

Hungwe was attacked by the State media after he likened Mnangagwa to the “Son of Man” — wherein analysts were quoted saying such kind of hero-worshipping would create an alternative centre of power.

Commenting on how some Zanu PF officials believed to be aligned to the former VP Mujuru faction were chased away from Mnangagwa’s party celebrations, Zhuwao said, “They (VPs) cannot be denied to anyone as was unfortunately done in Zvishavane where some people were chased away from their VP,” he said.

Dewa Mavhinga, a political analyst, said yesterday that uncertainty continued to shroud the succession saga.

“Judging by the shenanigans of the 6th Zanu PF congress where internal Zanu PF rules and constitutional provisions were blatantly disregarded in a well-orchestrated move to stop the people’s choice, former vice president Joice Mujuru from contesting, while paving way for Mnangagwa and (Phelekezela) Mphoko, one would agree with Moyo and Patrick Zhuwao that by becoming vice president it does not mean Mnangagwa is an automatic successor to Mugabe.

“If Mnangagwa falls out of favour with Mugabe, like Mujuru did, then he will be cast into the political dustbin, like Mujuru was,” he said, adding that for as long as Mugabe wielded total control over the party, it was difficult for Mnangagwa to consider himself a successor.

But analyst Shepherd Mntungwa said the utterances by Moyo and Zhuwao yesterday created confusion “at a political perception level” about their loyalty to Mnangagwa.

“It’s possible that their statements are innocent, but given the turbulent events inside Zanu PF over the past few months, this creates serious confusion at a political level about their loyalty to VP Mnangagwa and what their real game plan is,” he said. Daily News

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