via Mujuru wins Cabinet war – DailyNews Live by Fungi Kwaramba, Godfrey Mtimba and Thelma Chikwanha 13 SEPTEMBER 2013
As the battle to succeed President Robert Mugabe rages on, the faction led by Vice President Joice Mujuru seems to have come out with an edge over the camp believed to be led by Emmerson Mnangagwa in the new Cabinet announced by the 89-year-old leader on Tuesday.
The bulk of ministers in the new Cabinet are said to be Mujuru loyalists, although they publicly deny belonging to any camp.
And as a sign of her consolidation of power, her key ally Sydney Sekeramayi has taken over the reins at the Defence ministry following the relocation of Mnangagwa to the Justice portfolio.
And another key Mujuru loyalist, Didymus Mutasa will now effectively run the State Security ministry from the President’s Office.
Simon Khaya Moyo, the Zanu PF national chairperson and a close Mujuru ally, is poised to be the second vice president with the party’s December extraordinary congress standing between him and the coveted post.
In the latest Cabinet, the ex-diplomat was appointed senior minister.
Mujuru is the motherly and affable wife of the late retired general Solomon Mujuru, the powerful former head of the army who enjoyed widespread support in Zimbabwe’s straight jacket military establishment.
Informed sources told the Daily News that the Mujuru camp was in celebratory mood after the Cabinet announcement, while the Mnangagwa faction, which remarkably won the battle for Parliament, was sulking.
Authoritative sources said Mujuru played a big role in the setting up of the Cabinet and reshuffling of certain ministers to their new portfolios.
A senior member of the Zanu PF consultative assembly told the Daily News that Mujuru held sway over the appointments, removing some deployees from the Mnangagwa faction on the Cabinet line-up especially in Masvingo, where the Ngwena faction was literally buried.
In Masvingo, alleged key Mujuru loyalist Dzikamai Mavhaire has earned the powerful post of Energy and Power Development minister while Walter Mzembi and Kudakwashe Bhasikiti, also believed to sympathise with Mujuru, obtained ministerial posts.
Mnangagwa faction loyalist Josaya Hungwe was given minister of State for Liaising on Psychomotor Activities in Education, a move analysts described as a “mockery” to the faction.
Most of the key posts in the new Cabinet went to members said to be of the Mujuru faction, save for a few, such as Patrick Chinamasa and Jonathan Moyo.
It is however, not clear if Moyo is still loyal to the Mnangagwa camp after the Tsholotsho debacle.
So far, Mujuru has shown not just an incomparably greater grasp of the situation but a real fire in the belly in going after Mugabe’s vulnerable flank.
But for Mujuru to show the kind of transformational leadership the Zanu PF succession crisis demands, analysts say, she needs to be more solid.
Political analyst Masimba Gonese said Mugabe was systematically positioning Mujuru to take over from him.
“The move by Mugabe to sideline Mnangagwa and his faithful in the Cabinet and ministerial posts was a deliberate ploy to weaken him while positioning the vice president strongly to succeed him,” Gonese said.
“His members, including him, were appointed to less influential ministerial posts to silence them.”
Mujuru’s star has been rising since 2004 when she secured a Zanu PF congress resolution, which stated that one of the party’s two deputy presidents had to be a woman.
Analysts say Mugabe and Mujuru both belong to the Zezuru subgroup of the majority Shona people and are from the Mashonaland provinces.
After her elevation to the vice presidency in 2004, Mugabe said, “When you choose her as a vice president, you don’t want her to remain in that chair do you?” — a suggestion that Mujuru, could be the next Zanu PF leader after Mugabe, 89, steps down.
Trevor Maisiri, a senior analyst with the International Crisis Group (ICG), said Mugabe has built a Cabinet whose loyalty was primarily to him than it is to Mnangagwa or Mujuru factions.
“President Mugabe wants to run for the full five years of his term and therefore wants to dissolve factional alignments and bring everyone into a line of loyalty that leads to him,” Maisiri said.
“This gives him stable support for his five-year term. The faction that has therefore benefited in this Cabinet is the Mugabe faction.”
He added: “I think you will find Mujuru and Mnangagwa loyalists in the Cabinet but that was not the main point in this Cabinet.
“There are key Mnangagwa and Mujuru loyalists yes, but the push of their appointment is not to leverage their support for those factions, rather it’s about them being channelled to primarily be loyal to Mugabe; not necessarily their traditional factions.
“What will happen is that even those who are aligned to either Mnangagwa or Mujuru will in the end endorse a successor whom Mugabe prefers because their loyalty has been realigned primarily to Mugabe himself.”