Cling-on Bob at Nigeria power handover

via Cling-on Bob at Nigeria power handover – New Zimbabwe 29/05/2015

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe’s sole leader for the past 35 years, was in Nigeria Friday witnessing the inauguration the West African country’s new head of state in a peaceful transfer of power Harare can only dream about.

The veteran Zanu PF leader, in his guise as chairman of the African Union and the regional SADC grouping, witnessed President Muhammadu Buhari being sworn into office, taking over from Goodluck Jonathan who stepped down after accepting defeat in the country’s March 28 elections.

Mugabe, aged 91 this year and refusing to retire claiming Zimbabwe cannot do without him, was re-elected for another five year term in 2013 but that new “overwhelming” mandate has not stopped his own Zanu PF party fighting for his job.

He travelled to Nigeria as Zanu PF announced the suspension of more than 80 junior ranking officials over an alleged coup plot which has seen the expulsion of former vice president Joice Mujuru, several cabinet ministers and other senior party officials.

The ouster of Mujuru and her allies was touted as a decisive blow against factionalism in the party but the mid-week row between information minister Jonathan Moyo and party activist Goodson Nguni showed new fault lines have emerged and are deepening.

The new divisions are seen to pit the liberation generation which rallies around vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa and the younger G-40 coalition which says the liberators have played their part, are too backward looking and lack the ideas and vision to take Zimbabwe forward.

Having appeared to aid Mnangagwa’s succession prospects by disgracing and eventually forcing Mujuru out, the G-40 group – which is said to include the likes of information minister Jonathan Moyo and Environment minister Saviour Kasukuwere – now appears determined to stop the vice president taking over.

The divisions played out in the dispute over the party’s candidate for Harare East constituency where one group backed war veteran Mavis Gumbo while political upstart and banker Terrence Mukupe had the support of Kasukuwere. Makupe prevailed, one up for the G-40 cause.

Jonathan Moyo denied charges that his recent BBC interview showed he was working to stop Mnangagwa taking over from Mugabe. But after being again accused of working to destroy Zanu PF from within by Nguni, the information minister bristled at the vice president’s allies.

“Self-styled pro-VP Mnangagwa successionists like Nguni are actually unprincipled opportunists bent on creating a competing centre of power!

“It is shocking self-styled pro-VP Mnangagwa successionists are reproducing Gamatox epithets against erstwhile Cdes!” the minister charged on Twitter.

A Mnangagwa ally told a local daily that they had Moyo in their crosshairs:

“Moyo is taking it too far,” the official was quoted saying. “We will deal with him; he is on his way out.”

“Moyo has proved that he is part of the problem, and not the solution to Zanu PF’s wars.”

Meanwhile Mnangagwa is also said to be facing a challenge from another front. Co-vice President Phelekezela Mphoko, who party sources claim got the job through Mnangagwa’s backing, is increasingly becoming assertive.

The Mphoko factor

Following their appointments after the December Zanu PF congress, Mnangagwa would act as president in Mugabe’s absence but that has since changed with Mphoko now sharing the acting duties.

He also pointedly told excitable Mnangagwa ally, psychomotor minister Josiah Hungwe, that he was not number three in the presidium.

After Hungwe referred to him second vice president, Mphoko told a recent rally: “I would like to make a point of correction to Cde Hungwe.

“We do not have a first and second vice-president in our structures. We just have two vice-presidents.”

And as he fancies his succession chances, Mphoko is said to be trying to discredit Mnangagwa by reprising his role in the Gukurahundi infamy which left 20,000 civilians dead in the Matebeleland and Midlands regions.

“The critical issue is the 90-day constitutional window in the event President Mugabe leaves office for whatever reason,” said a party official who did not want to be named.

“The Mnangagwa group is now trying to push the establishment of the party’s national elections directorate to dilute the power of Kasukuwere.

“Legal secretary Patrick Chinamasa has already been asked to come up with the necessary drafts but is, unfortunately, too busy with the economy.

“Regarding Mphoko, the strategy is to undermine and hopefully force him out. Already Mugabe has been briefed that Mphoko was part of the Mthwakazi secessionist campaign.

We understand the strategy is working and that Mphoko is now being excluded from presidium meetings, only getting informed about what would have happened after the event.”

However, a senior journalist familiar with intelligence services’ infiltration and destabilisation of the Mthwakazi group dismissed suggestions Mphoko was part of the campaign.

“It’s beyond ridiculous to suggest Mphoko is Mthwakazi,” said the journalist. “It’s a charge that won’t stick because Mphoko is the reason Mthwakazi is now a lost cause.”

“In his previous brief as ambassador to Botswana, Mphoko actually infiltrated and destabilised that group as part of a project by the CIO and Mugabe would have been aware of his role.

“There is no way, therefore, that Mugabe can be persuaded that Mphoko is part of Mthwakazi.”

Expelled Zanu PF administration secretary and former presidential affair minister Didymus Mutasa he was disappointed that his former colleagues were consumed by power struggles while the country’s economy burns.

“Instead of focusing on reviving the economy and the welfare of our people, our political leadership is focused on petty party factional wars,” Mutasa told a local daily.

“Looking at the dire economic situation prevailing in the country and the rapid decline in the standards of living, one wonders whether the Zanu PF (2014) leaders still have a heart for the masses.

“In the face of an unprecedented drought, a desperate liquidity crunch and terrible power shortages, there is a clear leadership vacuum and lack of political will to solve these and a host of many other economic challenges.”

Mutasa added: “Instead of putting the welfare of the people first, the Zanu PF (2014) leadership is busy pursuing politics of hatred, intolerance, segregation and greed.”