via Mugabe disqualifies Mujuru, Mnangagwa February 21, 2014 NewsDay By Chief Reporter
President Robert Mugabe yesterday threw the cat among the pigeons when he hinted that both Vice-President Joice Mujuru and Justice Minister Emmerson Mnagangwa were out of the succession race by fomenting factionalism and risked expulsion from Zanu PF.
Mugabe said people should be free to choose their leader when the time comes for his departure from the helm of the party as he nears 40 years at the apex.
He discounted succession talk while he was still in charge.
“It is terrible even to have your name mentioned as leader of a faction,” Mugabe warned in an interview with ZBC to mark his 90th birthday last night.
Zanu PF has been at the centre of a storm due to infighting triggered by the race to succeed Mugabe.
There are two factions vying to succeed Mugabe, one reportedly led by Mujuru and another by Mnangagwa, but both publicly deny harbouring presidential ambitions.
Several clashes broke out in the party during last year’s provincial elections as the factions attempted
to angle for the replacement of Mugabe who turns 90 today, in the event he is either incapacitated or steps down.
Political analysts tip Mujuru to take over from Mugabe, claiming she was favoured by the party hierarchy as second-in-command.
This was also buttressed by the fact that Mugabe hand-picked her to the post of Vice-President and whipped provinces to endorse his choice.
This, according to observers, showed Mugabe was then contemplating anointing her as his heir apparent.
However, both Mujuru and Mnangagwa’s political careers have depended much on Mugabe’s benevolence.
Party sources claimed Mugabe once promised Mnangagwa power when he finally relinquished it.
But Mugabe yesterday tore apart his two proposed favourites, threatening them with expulsion for leading factions that were destabilising the party and calling the decision to be labelled faction leader as “tragic”.
Zanu PF secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa, who is believed to belong to the Mujuru faction, yesterday weighed in, reiterating that everyone within the party was free to contest for presidency.
He said the mandate to lead would be given by provinces.
“Those who lead factions, I don’t know why they do it,” Mutasa said. “The procedure is that the president is selected by provinces.”
The Mujuru and Mnangagwa factions have been battling to control provincial structures that form the Electoral College at the congress.
Last year’s selection of provincial executives was marred by counter accusations of vote-buying, rigging and manipulation from the two factions.
Mugabe blasted factionalism saying any selection of a leader on factional lines will create an opposition within the party.
“But why should it (succession) be discussed when it is not due? Is it due?” he queried. “The leadership still exists that runs the country. In other words, I am still there.”
He also lambasted regionalism and tribalism, saying the mandate to run provinces should be left to provincial chairpersons, not self-annointed provincial godfathers who should confine themselves to national leadership. Mugabe said his dream was to leave Zanu PF intact when he finally retires.