Battles to succeed Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe are “vicious” and “are going to carry on until the succession moment is done”, prominent political analyst Eldred Masunungure said on Tuesday.
Masunungure was commenting following remarks made by Information Minister Jonathan Moyo during an interview with the BBC, in which he said that Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa was not Mugabe’s successor but an “appointed assistant”.
Appearing on BBC’s HARDtalk programme on Monday, Moyo dismissed assumptions that Mnangagwa was poised to take over as president by virtue of being Zimbabwe’s vice president.
“…That’s your view. Don’t state it as a fact. He [Mnangagwa] is a vice president of the country, one of the two appointed by the president to assist him to implement the president’s agenda related to his pledges to the electorate… He is not an anointed vice president,” Moyo, said.
Watch the interview below.
This was not the first time that Moyo appeared to suggest that Mnangwagwa was not Mugabe’s successor.
Last year, Moyo said anyone who wanted to succeed Mugabe would have to win the hearts and minds of the electorate, reiterating the point that a successor was not appointed, but rather should be voted in.
According to News Day, Mnangagwa has over the years been seen as Mugabe’s successor and was viewed as a “silent plotter” in the sacking of former vice president Joyce Mujuru.
New Zimbabwe.com said media reports have in the past highlighted the misunderstandings between Moyo and Mnangagwa over many issues ranging from internal Zanu-PF administrative issues to the 1980s Gukurahundi genocide, in which Mnangagwa allegedly played a key role.
Masunungure told News24 that although Moyo’s remarks were legally correct – according to the amended Zanu-PF constitution – the party was set to go through trying times when Mugabe finally left office.
“It will be a nasty period and that is why those who are strategically poised to succeed him are busy strategising for nomination when the time comes. This is why the struggles are vicious both in the public and private arena,” Masunungure said.
Masunungure said the issue of succession was “the biggest unknown” in Zimbabwean politics.
“This is the reason why Moyo says no-one is anointed to take over. The opportunities are there and are open to anyone who is interested,” said Masunungure.
Masunungure said Zanu-PF politics was complicated as it was difficult for outsiders to know what was happening within the party.
“Zanu-PF doesn’t allow people to see what is going on inside the party. The alliances that form within the party are not permanent. Those who regard themselves as enemies today, you see them laughing and shaking hands the next day. Nothing is permanent in Zanu-PF. The situation in very unpredictable,” said Masunungure.
The Zimbabwe Independent newspaper reported over the weekend that Zanu-PF’s new constitutional amendments were likely set to trigger a free-for-all situation if Mugabe goes and an extraordinary congress is called to endorse a new candidate for the 2018 general elections through a national vote and secret ballot.
According to the report, the new amended clause, Article 7, Section 35 1(a) states that the central committee shall consist of a “President and First Secretary, nominated by at least two provinces and elected nationally by party members for his or her probity, integrity and commitment to the party, its ideology, values, principles and policies.