Mugove Tafirenyika 2 March 2017
HARARE – Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s supporters – who go by the
moniker Team Lacoste – say they are encouraged by President Robert
Mugabe’s recent hint that the warring ruling Zanu PF could hold a special
congress to choose his successor.
This comes after Mugabe suggested during his 93rd birthday celebrations in
Matobo at the weekend that his deeply-divided party could hold an
extra-ordinary congress if he felt it was time to call it quits.
Mnangagwa’s supporters – including war veterans and vocal
businessman-cum-politician, Energy Mutodi – have been making loud calls
for Mugabe to pave the way for the Midlands godfather at both party and
Welcoming the idea of a special congress, which he called for last month
to deal with Zanu PF’s succession riddle, Mutodi told the Daily News
yesterday that the spirits of the VP’s supporters had been lifted by
“Since he (Mugabe) has said he does not want to impose anyone on the
people, the elective extra-ordinary congress is the only way to go.
“We cannot fathom the fact that some amongst us are still calling for him
to stand in 2018. Surely when do they want him to rest? A good leader
cannot plan to rest in his grave. A good leader earns respect by allowing
others to lead while he takes rest.
“A bad leader, however, thinks that no one is better than himself. When
Sir Alex Ferguson left Manchester United with the best premier league
record, he was not too old to lead but he realised that he needed to rest
and give others a chance,” Mutodi told the Daily News.
“Nelson Mandela was also not too old to lead when he retired for (Thabo)
Mbeki. The same can be said about Sam Nujoma, Julius Nyerere, (Ian) Khama
and even (Eduardo) Dos Santos of Angola who will not seek re-election in
2018,” he added.
However, the Zanu PF youth league has warned that it will block any
attempts to force Mugabe to retire – insisting that he should die in
“The youth league, in conjunction with the women’s league, cannot imagine
voting for any other elder who is not Mugabe, unless nature takes its toll
“So, even if the president were to say I am tired, let us go for a special
congress, we will persuade him to still lead us,” a fired-up Zanu PF youth
league leader, Kudzanai Chipanga, told the Daily News earlier this week.
“Anyone who wants to take over from him in Zanu PF will have to make do
with a party without two crucial party wings because the youths and women
will not follow him,” he added.
Insiders have previously told the Daily News that the key youth and
women’s leagues are working with a party faction going by the name
Generation 40 (G40), which is rabidly opposed to Mnangagwa succeeding
But the G40 has also been supporting calls for Zanu PF to hold an
extra-ordinary congress, in line with a women’s league resolution that was
first put on the table two years ago, to have one of Mugabe’s two deputies
pave way for a woman – in what analysts widely agree is a move targeted at
crushing Mnangagwa’s mooted presidential aspirations.
Speaking at his 93rd birthday celebrations in Matobo, in Matabeleland
South last Saturday, a tired-looking Mugabe said Zanu PF could stage an
extraordinary congress to choose his successor if he decided to retire.
“If Zanu PF says I should go I will . . . For your own information, I
never canvassed for any position, I rose up to my position . . . let the
people judge for themselves . . . We don’t want imposition (of leaders) at
“People have said that I should choose a successor but that is what is
called imposition. I don’t want and will never impose. This is the job of
congress to choose those who will then come up and the party will elect.
“Whatever position you seek must be a position you get upon a proper
election by the people . . . People who are busy forming their own
groupings saying VaMugabe must go I ask myself where should I go,” Mugabe
Mnangagwa has been under the cosh in Zanu PF for the past few months for
allegedly working fervently to stampede Mugabe out of power before the
nonagenarian’s current presidential term ends in 2018.
Things became worse for him when he hosted sacked Zanu PF officials at his
rural home during the festive season, with his party foes alleging that
this was in fact a meeting organised to plot the immediate ouster of
Mugabe from power.
Grace also recently took a veiled dig at Mnangagwa during her rally in
Buhera, when she attacked Zanu PF bigwigs angling for her husband’s job,
and mocked them on their alleged lack of “leadership qualities”.