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VP Mnangagwa Faces Uphill Task to Get Presidential Post

  • Gibbs Dube

President Robert Mugabe with his two deputies, Phelekezela Mphoko (L) and Emmerson Mnangagwa (R). Collage by Ntungamili Nkomo

President Robert Mugabe with his two deputies, Phelekezela Mphoko (L) and Emmerson Mnangagwa (R). Collage by Ntungamili Nkomo

Zanu PF factionalism has reached alarming proportions with some senior party members fighting openly on social media as the race to succeed 91-year old President Robert Mugabe intensifies.

Some tip Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa to take over from Mr. Mugabe when he vacates the presidential seat.

But others in the party believe that Mnangagwa is not President Mugabe’s heir apparent.

Mnangagwa has over the years been associated with the president as he was his close confidante during the war of liberation in the 1970s and has been by his side since independence from British rule in 1980.

There are some in the party like Central Committee member, David Ndlovu, who think that the presidential post will not just be handed over to an individual as it has to be decided at the next party congress in 2019.

Ndlovu believes that Mnangagwa is among many people who want to succeed President Mugabe.

Some critics, like international affairs commentator David Monyae of South Africa, believe that Mnangagwa is in a good striking position to land the post if something tragic happens to the president now or when he decides to leave office.

But he adds that there can be some surprises in the battle to succeed Mr. Mugabe, especially taking into account the unity accord signed by Zanu PF and PF Zapu in 1987, which ended conflicts between the two parties.

A Zanu PF lawmaker, Justice Mayor Wadzajena, recently attacked Higher Education Minister Jonathan Moyo on Twitter saying he is a devil incarnate and must stop attacking members of the party who appear to be siding with Mnangagwa.

Wadzajena is a well-known Mnangagwa ally.

Monyae’s views are echoed by independent political commentator, Mlamuli Nkomo, who says Mnangagwa could be the president’s current choice but volatile political dynamics in the party may cripple his chances of landing the presidential post.

He says most people in the party are now looking into a future without President Mugabe and want to feather their nests, even by getting a new leader likely to support their own agenda.

It remains to be seen whether Mnangagwa, known as Ngwenya or the Crocodile, will use the cunningness that he has used to survive since the war of independence to land the coveted position as President Mugabe turns 92 next year and may not be a favorable national candidate for Zanu PF in the 2018 presidential polls.