By Itai Mushekwe | Spotlight Zimbabwe |
Political survivor, Vice President, Emmerson Mnangagwa, slight bruising this week by losing his leadership of government business in parliament, is all but now taking the battle to succeed President Robert Mugabe and his wife’s open attempt to smuggle herself to the golden throne through the backdoor, right down to the wire, Spotlight Zimbabwe, has been told.
Mnangagwa was stripped of his justice, legal and parliamentary affairs ministerial post in a panic reshuffle by Mugabe, which has failed to ultimately deal his long-time bodyguard of decades a severe blow, amid secret disclosures from ruling Zanu PF insiders that Mugabe hesitated to fire his deputy, as had allegedly been planned by a rival faction, G40, thought to be the brainchild of higher education minister, Jonathan Moyo, and symbolically led by first lady, Grace Mugabe.
The veteran Zanu PF nonagenarian himself is suspected to be the G40 closet godfather, pulling the strings from behind the curtain, in the final lap to anoint his preferred replacement.
Spotlight Zimbabwe was told last night that Mugabe developed cold feet at the eleventh hour in dismissing Mnangagwa, after being warned that the development could trigger unrest and mayhem in the country as the vice president reportedly has massive support within the military.
Also our information suggests that liberation war veterans, a key constituency that has rallied behind Mugabe and was the political fuel driving his controversial land reform seizures of white owned commercial farms, was waiting to see whether or not Mugabe dared to drop Mnangagwa, before taking “decisive action and mobilisation against the regime” thus likely to ignite a political crisis, that could have rendered the country ungovernable.
“The real target for this cabinet reshuffle was Mnangagwa,” high ranking ruling party insiders said yesterday. “They had planned a technical demotion by making him a senior minister in government, but he only lost the justice ministry and this came as a shock to his rivals, who expected him to get the boot. Now all eyes are on the party’s elective congress in December, where a woman vice president is going to be introduced into the presidium. However it might be too late to chop off Mnangagwa because the opportunity was missed this week, and in politics a lot can happen between now and the December meeting.”
Zanu PF spokesman, and now promoted information minister, Simon Khaya Moyo, is a former “senior minister”, who many believed at the time of his tenure was undergoing induction to become vice president in 2014, but he fell by the wayside after being accused of being a Joice Mujuru functionary, eventually losing out to then little know former Ambassador to Russia, Phelekezela Mphoko.
This publication has it on good account, that the first lady, had laid out the ground for Mnangagwa’s sacking last week, where she openly told the vice president in the vernacular Shona language to resign and go home as he had run out of ideas, during the launch of the new Empowerment Bank in Harare.
However when Mugabe announced his reshuffle on Monday, Mnangagwa appeared to have survived the exit door, through the skin of the teeth. Intelligence sources say Mnangagwa’s foes and Mugabe are still inwardly shaken by the prospects of Mnangagwa being courted by the opposition or deserting Zanu PF before next year’s watershed elections.
“Mnangagwa is a founding member of Zanu PF and one who has helped Mugabe to stay in power all along, even when he lost elections to Tsvangirai in 2008,” the sources said.
“There is fear in official circles at the moment that if he (Mnangagwa) is removed from office, the ruling party will split. Furthermore there’s intelligence that the vice president is likely to strike back and pre-empt the G40, before they further humiliate him. Mugabe has a solid control of government and the presidency, but Mnangagwa has the sympathy of the security forces.
“Only recently there’s been reports that former defence minister and Zapu leader, Dumiso Dabengwa, is talking to Mnangagwa’s people for a possible presidium post in a Mnangagwa administration should it materialise. Dabengwa’s Harare home, in the low density surburb of Strathaven has been a hive of activity lately, where alleged political talks and meetings have been taking place.
“Ironically Dabengwa’s house is not that far from former prime minister, Morgan Tsvangirai, who lives in the same neighbourhood area. Although Tsvangirai is at his Highlands mansion most of the time, it is believed he uses the Strathaven home for off the grid meetings.”
Speculation is also rife that the opposition MDC-T might be willing to work with Mnangagwa, and that his endorsement will easily win them the 2018 presidency should things fall apart in Zanu PF, after one of their senior officials come out in support of Mnangagwa, over his ice-cream posoining standoff with the first family and VP Phelekezela Mphoko.
Tsvangirai’s top advisor Jameson Timba, a former Cabinet minister during the Government of National Unity (GNU) showered support for Mnangagwa on his Facebook page, saying his response to the poisoning saga with the Mugabes was well thought .
“I have no brief for him. I disagree with him politically. But give it to…Mnangagwa. He made his opponents including the learned… Jonathan Moyo look like fools. He said he was not food poisoned. Which is a fact. But he was poisoned, which is another fact but a different one. Mugabe confirmed that his doctors said he was not food poisoned but was poisoned because he had traces of poison in his blood. Which is a fact.
“He said what happened to him is what happened to (the late Masvingo Provincial Affairs minister Shuvai) Mahofa.
“Mahofa fell ill at a Zanu PF gathering in Victoria Falls and was airlifted to somewhere in Zimbabwe and subsequently to South Africa. He fell ill at a Zanu PF gathering in Gwanda and was airlifted to Gweru and subsequently to SA-hence the similarities.So ED (Mnangagwa) has been consistent with his story and his internal opponents have been duped by a smart talking lawyer and they are all over saying he is contradicting himself when it is them who are failing to read and understand simple english,” said Timba.
Mnangagwa himself it might seem, has confirmed that he is ready to deliver a knock out of his succession rivals, following a post on his twitter handle this week, which reads as thus: “In boxing the thought that you’re ahead on points shouldn’t be a reason to pop the champagne, the KO punch is always delivered kumagumo (at the end).”
Many have read into the VP’s tweet, to mean a warning shot to his adversaries in the the G40 factional confederacy, who appear to be celebrating early and already prematurely unveiling his political tombstone.
Spotlight Zimbabwe, has kept ahead of what is otherwise a very difficult Mnangagwa inside story beat, as current events on the ground point to something in the opposite direction going by mainstream reports.
Below is a leaked list of possible key members of a shadow Mnangagwa government obtained a few months ago:
President: Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa
First Vice President: General Constantino Guvheya Chiwenga
Second Vice President: Kembo Mohadi and/or Dumiso Dabengwa
Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) Commander: Lt General Philip Valerio Sibanda
Zimbabwe National Army Commander: Major-General Douglas Nyikayaramba
Foreign Affairs: Christopher Mutsvangwa
Information: George Charamba