Mugove Tafirenyika 3 February 2017
HARARE – Zanu PF youth league leader, Kudzanai Chipanga, made a
sensational proposition yesterday that is guaranteed to set tongues
wagging within the warring ruling party, saying President Robert Mugabe
should only be succeeded by someone who carries the same surname as the
country’s long-ruling leader.
Speaking to the Daily News in an exclusive interview yesterday, Chipanga
made it clear that the youth league knew who it wanted to succeed Mugabe
whenever he leaves office, saying further that party youths were even
prepared to back powerful first lady, Grace, to take over from her husband
and retain the “Mugabe brand”.
However, Grace has previously denied strenuously that she had designs on
the country’s top job, arguing that by virtue of her being Mugabe’s wife,
she was very close to the seat of power and did not, therefore, need to be
Chipanga emphasised that while youths did not expect to be seized with
looking for the nonagenarian’s successor anytime soon, because Mugabe
would remain on the throne “for a long time to come”, they were of the
view that the only name that could lead the ruling party to electoral
victory was that of Mugabe.
“We cannot imagine a situation where we do not have our president, but
should we be forced into that situation, we would second someone with the
name Mugabe because that name is sellable.
“Our people have got addicted to that name and they will easily vote for
such a name as long as it has been forwarded by Zanu PF,” Chipanga said.
Pressed by the Daily News to say if he meant that one of Mugabe’s
relatives, including his wife and children, should take over from him,
Chipanga said such a situation would be ideal.
“It is not secret that the youth league and the women’s league work
closely together, hence we will have no problem with supporting a woman to
any position in the party, including the presidency, as long as it is done
according to the dictates of the Zanu PF constitution – and like I have
said, that person must carry the name Mugabe.
“By the way, it (Zanu PF’s constitution) does not bar women from
contesting. Our point is that we prefer to go into any election riding on
the back of the Mugabe brand. It does us good to have the name Mugabe on
the ballot paper,” he said.
This comes as there have previously been hushed whispers in sections of
the ruling party that Mugabe intended to groom his wife as his successor,
instead of the likes of his long time aide and now second-in-command, Vice
President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Notwithstanding this speculation, Grace has consistently denied harbouring
any presidential ambitions, insisting she is content with the position of
women’s league boss.
However, the lack of a clear successor for Mugabe has triggered a bitter
tribal, factional and succession war within Zanu PF, which has left the
once formidable ruling party split into two bitterly-opposed camps.
One of the factions, Team Lacoste, is backing Mnangagwa to succeed Mugabe
and counts within its ranks the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans
The other faction, the Generation 40 (G40) group, which allegedly boasts
of among its members the likes of Chipanga, Zanu PF national political
commissar Saviour Kasukuwere and Higher Education minister Jonathan Moyo,
is rabidly opposed to the Midlands godfather.
While the Christopher Mutsvangwa-led war veterans have threatened
bloodshed if Mnangagwa is blocked from becoming president, the G40-linked
Zanu PF youth league has similarly threatened to take up arms in Mugabe’s
defence, while at the same time pushing for the nonagenarian to be
declared life president.
Pressed to say yesterday how party youths hoped to win the war against the
seemingly powerful Mnangagwa faction, which is said to enjoy the support
of the country’s military establishment, Chipanga said “everything is
“One can have the support of the armed people but our biggest weapon is
the will of the people. As long as we fight to make sure that the people’s
will is not subverted by way of attempting to take power without going to
an election as provided for by the law, then we are guaranteed their
“Over and above that, we have got the energy and willpower to fight for
that just cause. We are further emboldened by the fact that we will all be
doing it for the sake of the commander-in-chief of the Zimbabwe Defence
Forces, the boss of the army, making it even easier for us,” he added.