Mnangagwa interview divides opinion

HARARE - The debate continues to rage furiously among analysts and within warring Zanu PF about the wisdom of Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa granting a controversial interview to British publication, the New Statesman, last week.

Although Mnangagwa did not admit, as usual, that he wants to succeed President Robert Mugabe in the interview, former Cabinet minister and war veterans leader, Christopher Mutsvangwa — who is also one of the Midlands godfather’s most vociferous supporters — was emphatic in the same New Statesman story that the VP would “100 percent” be Zimbabwe’s next president.

But perhaps even more problematic for Mnangagwa, a secret Zanu PF document which was passed on to the New Statesman at the time of the VP’s interview suggested, damningly, that Mugabe himself created the ruling party’s Generation 40 (G40) faction as the nonagenarian had allegedly “always felt threatened by VP Mnangagwa and the prospect of his presidency being outshined by that of his protégé”.

In addition, Mnangagwa also appeared to create more problems for himself in the interview. As he absolved himself of any culpability in the Gukurahundi massacres of the early 1980s, in which an estimated 20 000 innocent civilians were killed by the army, he unwittingly and simultaneously shined the spotlight on Mugabe with regards to the killings.

Speaking to the Daily News on Sunday yesterday, political analyst Shakespeare Hamauswa said despite all the recent controversies that had dogged Mnangagwa, including the News Statesman interview, the VP was “a survivor” who had managed to weather the storm in many previous such situations.

“Mnangagwa has survived many times, not necessarily because he is a strategist par excellence, but because he enjoys the support of the security sector.

“The donors, who are increasingly becoming dissatisfied with the opposition are also preparing for a ‘second best option’, which is a reformed Zanu PF, and they also think that Ngwena (Mnangagwa) can lead that reformation,” he said.

“So, the New Statesman interview is for me okay in that the succession battle is being fought through the media and the best way for the protagonists is to fight back through the same media.

“There might be weaknesses in the way he handled the coffee mug storm but that will not guarantee his downfall in the absence of a strong counter strategy, one that is based on tactics and not just the mudslinging of aspiring candidates,” Hamauswa added.

“I think the bigger picture is how Ngwena has conducted government business so far. Yes he can deny involvement in Gukurahundi, but he can not explain such things as his foolish statement when he said US dollars are not meant for buying mazhanje.

“He also can’t deny that he is the first high-level official to start abrogating the Constitution. What it also means is that he could now spend 99 percent of his time defending himself, without showing his capability of taking over,” Hamauswa concluded.

Another analyst, Maxwell Saungweme  said “Cupgate” — the controversy related to the VP’s “I am the boss” coffee mug — as well as Mnangagwa’s interview with the New Statesman “betrayed him as an unsophisticated politician who is overrated”.

“His recent moves seem to betray, somewhat, a lack of grasp of how the Zanu PF patronage and factional system works. He seems to have exposed himself, his surrogates and political running dogs.

“If one looks at his liberation history and his tenure in government in senior roles, the guy has never portrayed political shrewdness. He is mostly famed for being consistent in carrying out missions in the liberation struggle or for being brutal in government.

“He is not known for being an orator, a diplomatic politician or a shrewd tactician. His latest actions betray the real person in him, an unsophisticated politician. To me, this is the real Ngwena for you and his actions are definitely suicidal given the factionalism and patronage system in Zanu PF,” Saungweme said.

Within Zanu PF itself, Mnangagwa’s G40 enemies have gone to town to use the events of the past few days to portray him as “completely unfit” to ascend to the highest office in the land.

“We told you a long time ago that Lacoste is not just unelectable, he would be a disaster if he succeeded Gushungo (Mugabe),” a G40-linked senior ruling party official told the Daily News on Sunday yesterday.

Comments (11)

I dont think Mnangagwa is to be trusted with any meaningful change, let alone a clean break from Mugabe style policies and politics. He is just old wine in a new bottle.

sandile - 8 January 2017

Munangagwa was number one in gukurahundi killings he can not want to distance himself from that one when everyone who was adult and stayed in matebe leland during that time know it exactly HOW HE CONUCTED THE KILLINGS ,He planted fire arms near zipra farms so he could justify his killing spree and take those farms which he still own up to now . Pple of Mat will never vote for a murderer never that will never happen ,

SIBONGILE - 8 January 2017

i agree with you Sibongile not pple of Matebeleland alone will not vote for Munangagwa but everyone normal across the country including G40 will never do that .The guy is just useless and voting for him is vote abusing . 36years in govt what did he do to stop the rot in this country , Nothing

Dave - 8 January 2017

Yu may have to migrate,leave the country n be an immigrant elsewhr bcoz Ngwena is the next president.Anyone who leads Zanu and Zanla will win any national election in Zim.Even to put Johnathan Moyo as head of Zanu ,he will be the president whether shonas like it or not.Even uDabengwa.But its Mugabe now and thats how he has stayed this long ,bcoz of Zanu .Yu cant dislodge Zanu ,at least for now bcoz yu dont have good opposition leaders.So Vp is next in line to be head of Zanu.Simple

viola gwena - 8 January 2017

If yu culdnt remove an oldman Mugabe ,a 92 yr old ,how do yu dare stop 70 yr old ,able bodied leader .Besides yo leader is struggling healthwise.Opposition is dead.Thats why yu have to hire our Mujuru for missionary services .Yu need to spruce up yo image and enhence yo reputation as a political party.Our Mujuru will be yo head or deputy.Isnt that insane.Why try to make yo party a replica of zanu.?Zanu will never hire Khupe nor Ncube nor Tsvangirai to be deputy in Zanu ,not even a position,nada.Yu start from bottom.But at Mdc yu can be hired and be boss,bring in yo cup n cheers ,im in.So until yu develop good opposition leaders in mdc,its zanu till then.Sorry.Truth hurts .Truth is Ngwena will be president next ,after Mugabe.Unless if he declines.Still there is plenty in Zanu who can lead.Simon Khaya Moyo ,Gen Chiwenga, many others.

viola gwena - 8 January 2017

@ Viola your arrogance and stupidity is increasingly day in day out. If elections were fair pls dare put your gugurahundi Mnangagwa and c the true colours of mat and midlands votes. U will be shocked . We hate Mnangagwa with a passion dear. Make that stupid mistake and field him in 2018 and u will get a surprise for life and probable die of bp wena chambers.

Ndoda - 8 January 2017

Thats wishfull thinking.Yu culdnt do that in 1980,1985 wth uMdala at the helm ofZapu.Yo votes were not good enuf.Now its even worse In Matebeleland.Khaya Moyo is loved there, plus many cadirs from the region.Yu seem to forget Zanu and Zapu merged.Thats why we have the forma Zapu caders in Zanu.Thats why uMdala was vp,John Nkomo,Msika.Which party from Matebeleland is stronger than Zanu pf? Shame.

viola gwena - 9 January 2017

@ stupid Viola we gonna mobilise and vote MDC and not stupid Gugurahundi Mnangagwa. Dare us and c. We hate this gugurahundi perpetrator. I don't care about Kudala or whoever , this nincompoop gugurahundi Mnangagwa killed my people period . l will personally campaign for MDC so as to fix this satanists.

Ndoda - 9 January 2017

@Viola , let me respect your opinion once more ,definitely we need somebody to lead our country , at this time Mnangagwa who is linked to the Gugrahundu killings is your choice , that is your choice and it is fine , other people have got their choices as well , all that is fine . Zimbabweans we came back from the bush and soon celebrated our indepedence , there after we implemented our goals and among those goals which were really on top was send everybody back to school , education was on top and the goal was highly achieved . Now , the question to you Viola is , why did you as the parents spend so much money and time sending your children to school ? Didn't you tell them that they are the future leaders of this country ? Have you given such educated individuals an opportunity , if not why ? Viola , if it is all about awarding or electing leaders through war credentials , better award such positions to the educated warvets children than to continue fooling the nation about this leadership of 1980s , 36 years down on the line what have they done , Viola we need to resolve issues instead of perpertuating this sickiness from ZANU PF to a new generation or from one stage to the other . Mnangagwa is part of culprits who have caused more harm to our nation and i wonder why you see him as your choice , i am sorry may be you are disabled and blind , may God assist you.

Khalabemgeza - 9 January 2017

@khaba ,I dont need any assistance for that ,neither do yu.All yu need is knowledge on hoe elections are won.Its majority rule.Thats the reason why pple like Johnathan Moyo ,y intelligent prof is full time in Zanu.Many more .They know if yu cant beat them join them.Emotions dnt drive yo party into power.Corrupted emotions anyway.If mdc showed depth in struttegy and planning I wuld be in mdc,but nope.They are not seriouse.The day Tsvangirai chased out intelligent guys like Welshman,Biti,Mangoma ,Paul Nyati an excellent diplomat,thats the day mdc disintegrated.Why shuld I just support them for the sake of it.And loosing every election wth no plan.whether stolen or not.

viola gwena - 9 January 2017

If Munangagwa losses which is obvious one big idiot who always sign and praise Munangagwa here will have to go into exile , It is a pit that we still have pple who support politicians on tribal bases not reputation . Munangagwa a fully fledged Gukurahundi can not be forced onto pple he knows nothing about clean leadership apart from killings and ubumenemene and corruption . That is wishful thinking that this dander head is going to be president of this country even pple in his home town Kwekwe do not like him either how can he win national election then .

Diibulaanyika - 9 January 2017

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