VP Mnangagwa a ‘dead man walking’ after war vets storm

Source: VP Mnangagwa a ‘dead man walking’ after war vets storm – The Standard July 31, 2016

VICE-President Emmerson Mnangagwa — considered one of the front runners to succeed President Robert Mugabe — is facing his toughest test yet in his bid to become Zimbabwe’s next leader.

NEWS IN DEPTH BY RICHARD CHIDZA

Mnangagwa is in the spotlight after war veterans a fortnight ago issued a shocking communique announcing that they were withdrawing their support for Mugabe and throwing their lot behind the VP.

The move by the influential former liberation war fighters triggered a swift response from the G40 faction in Zanu PF that hastily arranged a solidarity rally for Mugabe on Wednesday.

One of the faction’s “court jesters”, Mandiitawepi Chimene threw the gauntlet down at the rally and publicly accused Mnangagwa of plotting to oust the 92-year-old ruler.

She revealed that Mugabe’s Cabinet was sharply divided, with some ministers openly supporting the VP’s presidential ambitions.

A day after the rally Mnangagwa was composed as he dismissed the charges laid against him by Chimene, telling journalists he was not deterred by the “falsehoods”.

However, a rare press conference by the VP yesterday where he repeated the same statements he made in Norton, denying any links to factionalism in Zanu PF, betrayed a man cracking under pressure.

Alex Magaisa, a former advisor to ex-prime minister Morgan Tsvangirai, said the move by war veterans and Chimene’s outburst had left Mnangagwa between a rock and a hard place.
“It is plain that Mnangagwa is facing the biggest crisis of his political career,” he said.

“While he disassociated himself from the war veterans’ statement which hit out at Mugabe, it is known that they are his allies and detractors have already found him guilty by association.

“The dilemma he faces is: if he defends his allies who are accused of plotting against Mugabe, he would have shown his hand — something his opponents are keen to see happen.
“But if he does not stand up, his support base will continue to be depleted,” he added.

Magaisa believes Mugabe is using the same tactics he used against Mnangagwa’s predecessor, Joice Mujuru only two years ago.

Ironically, the Zanu PF leader used war veterans’ leader Christopher Mutsvangwa, who was a deputy Foreign Affairs minister at the time, to initiate attacks against Mujuru.

After First Lady Grace Mugabe joined the fray, the floodgates were opened against Zimbabwe’s first woman vice-president until she threw in the towel in December 2014.

In a repeat of the script, Hurungwe East MP Sarah Mahoka started the onslaught against Mnangagwa in May followed by the First Lady at a rally in Chiweshe and Chimene’s below the belt blows against the VP on Wednesday.

Mutsvangwa was fired from Cabinet and Zanu PF for allegedly working with Mnangagwa

The strategy to remove Mnangagwa remains unclear and some attribute this to the VP’s connections to the military establishment.

Some analysts say Mugabe would be cautious in dealing with his rival to avoid unrest, while Zanu PF insiders claim a motion is already underway to neutralise him.

The Zanu PF sources say Mnangagwa’s rivals are targeting December for a final push against the veteran politician from Midlands at the Zanu PF conference.

G40 kingpins are already pressing for an extraordinary congress to deal with the succession imbroglio and there is speculation that the youth, women and war veterans would hold special congresses in the coming months to put pressure on Mugabe to call for the extraordinary congress for the party’s main wing.

Harare-based legal expert Dereck Matyszak said it was likely that Mnangagwa’s rivals would push for constitutional amendments that would see the VP’s seat in the presidium being reserved for a woman.

Zanu PF amended its constitution at the 2014 congress and cast away the clause that ensured the women’s league had a seat in the presidium.

“Until these amendments, the party constitution provided that the vice-presidents were elected by congress, held every five years, after receiving nomination by at least six of the 10 provinces,” Matyszak said.

“This provision was amended to provide [in section 40] that ‘soon after’ the election of the president and central committee at each congress, the president must ‘during the sitting of the congress, appoint from the newly elected central committee, two vice-presidents and second secretaries.’”

But the constitution may not be a stumbling block for Mugabe if he gathers enough courage to ditch his long-time ally.

“Mnangagwa may be justified in feeling nervous ahead of Zanu PF’s December 2016 conference,” he said.

“The need for the vice-presidents to be appointed during the sitting of congress was breached by Mugabe within days of the introduction of the requirement, with both party vice-presidents appointed several days after the congress had ended.”

Meanwhile, Ricky Mukonza, a political analyst, believes Mnangagwa would survive the turbulence like he did in 2004 when six Zanu PF chairpersons tried to push him into the presidium ahead of Mujuru.

The plot, now known as the Tsholotsho Declaration, infuriated Mugabe and led to the VP’s demotion to an obscure ministry.

“I think Mnangagwa will weather the storm because he does not hesitate to sacrifice his backers when his survival is under threat. One needs to look no further than the Tsholotsho debacle,” Mukonza said.

“This is what Joice Mujuru could not do when she was sacked from the party in 2014.

“Having been in the Zanu PF system for a long time, more so working very close to President Mugabe, Mnangagwa seems to have mastered the art of surviving in the turbulent times within the party.”

He, however admitted that the VP would not emerge the same from the fallout.

“I think that going forward, he will be a lame duck because his potential backers will be scared to come out in support of him as they know they will be sacrificed,” he said.

“This situation augurs well for Mugabe who, despite his advanced age, still wants to continue at the helm of the party without anyone posing danger to his power.”

Mnangagwa has denied that he has presidential ambitious, while Mugabe is said to strongly believe that the VP cannot win an election as a Zanu PF leader.

The Justice minister is hugely unpopular in Matabeleland for his alleged role in the Gukurahundi atrocities that left an estimated 20 000 civilians dead soon after independence.

COMMENTS

WORDPRESS: 3
  • comment-avatar
    Felix Kunakirwa 6 years ago

    That is why Mugabe does not want to step down , he is .buying time so that he can get rid of Mnangagwa and apoint his wife as vice president before he leaves. Comrades wake up and tell this old man that this will never happen. If he manages to do this , Grace, the slat , will not last in that position. The old man is plotting a very bad ending to his sweet wife and family. Mugabe leave now so that your legacy and family will be respected after you are dead. Leave in peace with your fellow comrades and citizens., then no one will harm your family
    , they will always be safe and respected.

    • comment-avatar
      Fallenz 6 years ago

      …and retain all the vast wealth they have stolen from the Zimbabwe people???

    • comment-avatar

      @Felix Kunakirwa methinks you lost your mind and better judgment here sir! Firstly I believe it is spelt “slut” and secondly there is no hope of Bob regaining any legacy! Regardless of how change comes, who gets to be president after he passes away or the baton to grace, his family and all those around him are not going to find it easy when we get our new Zimbabwe. Let me assure you and it would be so wise for the police, CIO, and zanoid youth to distance themselves as soon as possible from the Mugabe family and their cohorts. They have time, but very little!!