President Robert Mugabe is reportedly in a fix over how to deal with his two deputies Emmerson Mnangagwa and Phelekezela Mphoko who have allegedly struggled to get along.
Sources told The Standard that Mugabe was exceedingly worried that his deputies hold ideologically and strategically divergent views and have failed to find each other since their appointment to the powerful posts. Their relatonship threatens the stability of the Zanu PF party battling to contain factional fissures.
Mnangagwa and Mphoko were appointed after the party’s controversial December congress which booted out several
leaders accused of trying to topple Mugabe.
The revelations come after Mugabe last week sacked Information minister Jonathan Moyo from Cabinet reportedly on a technicality after Moyo, whose appointment was based on his “special skills” became an MP after winning the Tsholotsho seat in a June 10 by-election.
Zanu PF and government officials at Munhumutapa government building said Mugabe’s snap decision to sack Moyo from Cabinet without even the knowledge of his two deputies has set the tone for a high magnitude reshuffle. The reshuffle would not only affect ministers linked to former Vice President Joice Mujuru who was fired from both government and Zanu Pf on allegations of plotting against the 91-year old leader.
Mugabe had hoped the exit of Mujuru and her allies would put to rest the issue of factionalism, but is worried some new centres of power in the form of the Generation 40 has emerged to square up with the Mnangagwa faction.
Moyo and party political commissar Saviour Kasukuwere were reportedly behind the G40 and have enjoyed the support of Mphoko, signalling the rift with his co-VP.
Mphoko last month clashed with Mnangagwa’s loyalists who included Psychomotor minister Josiah Hungwe for calling him Second VP, claiming he was on an equal footing with Mnangagwa.
Moyo recently told the BBC Hardtalk programme that Mnangagwa‘s appointment to the post of VP did not mean he was Mugabe’s heir apparent, claiming the succession race was still a wide open contest.
Barely six months after Mugabe appointed his two deputies, Mugabe is reportedly having serious headaches after gathering intelligence the two were operating at cross purpose and also that several of his ministers have been sucked into antagonism between the two, threatening the stability of his party.
“The President is set to make sweeping changes in his Cabinet that would possibly affect one of his deputies,” a source close to the developments said.
“The President is very worried. He is not happy over continued infighting in his party. He has intelligence that some of his most trusted lieutenants were involved in factional fights and is in a dilemma on how to deal with them after firing all those supposedly linked to Mujuru for the same offence.”
The source added. “He has headaches over his VPs who seem not to going along. They are ideologically and tactfully divergent. When he appointed Mnangagwa, he hoped his appeal to the Shona and Ndebele tribes would help resolve tribal conflicts and unite the party, but this did not happen. On Mphoko, his wife, Grace has begun to show reservations on his capabilities and has openly told her husband that Simon Khaya-Moyo would have made a better VP than him.”
Although presidential spokesperson Gorge Charamba was not picking calls yesterday, The Standard is reliably informed Mugabe would make sweeping changes to his Cabinet anytime soon and the tone had already been set by the sacking of Moyo from last Wednesday’s Cabinet.
Mugabe is also reportedly unhappy with Moyo who is accused of using the public media to allegedly feign factionalism in the party and the move to sack him could be followed by his reassignment to a different portfolio.
“The President is also worried that some of his ministers, including his deputies, were being implicated in abuse of office by extorting from potential investors extortion and he would want to crack the whip,” said another source.
The source cited Kamativi tin mine as an example. He said despite the minister of mines Walter Chidhakwa breaking a deal with Chinese investors, some of the ministers (names supplied) held parallel negotiating contracts with the Arabs and British for the same project.
This had forced Mugabe at one time to meet Chidhakwa in private to understand what was happening. Chidhakwa was not reachable for a comment yesterday.
“Supporters of one of the ministers have already been heard bragging that Chidhakwa would lose his job as soon as soon as Mugabe goes. They want every deal to be negotiated through his office. Already, the camp is extorting money from business communities to build a war chest against Mujuru in the event that Mugabe goes,” the source said.
“Mugabe is in a fix on how to deal with the spiralling of corruption and would surely make changes to his Cabinet possibly, starting from the top.”