Mnangagwa supporters take on Mugabe

HARARE - It is now open war in President Robert Mugabe’s ruling Zanu PF — after Zimbabwe’s long-ruling leader said pointedly at the weekend that there was not one person among all his ambitious lieutenants who was worthy of succeeding him.

Stung by this damning statement, Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s angry allies came out guns blazing yesterday, warning the increasingly frail nonagenarian that he faced a big fight if he continued to thwart the Midlands godfather’s mooted presidential aspirations.

At the same time, analysts also suggested in interviews with the Daily News that Mugabe — by trashing his minions so soundly and so ruthlessly — could have unwittingly lifted the spirits of the country’s fractured opposition ahead of the make-or-break 2018 national elections.

Mnangagwa’s supporters also said yesterday that they would now openly campaign for him as Mugabe’s successor, as Zanu PF’s intensifying tribal, factional and succession wars reach a deadly climax.

All this came after Mugabe, who turns a very mature 93 today, said at the weekend — in his usual birthday interview with the ZBC — that there was no one in Zanu PF who had the support of the people and the right qualities to take over from him: a statement that was seen as slamming the door shut in the face of his longtime aide Mnangagwa, who until recently had been touted as a front runner to succeed the nonagenarian.

Among the vocal Mnangagwa supporters who spoke to the Daily News yesterday was expelled former Mashonaland Central youth chairperson Godfrey Tsenengamu who called for  “a mega fightback” from the VP and his allies — saying it was time to bite the bullet and square up to Mugabe.

“It is time we go open about this succession thing because some of us have since identified our candidate and it’s none other than Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa. If Mugabe doesn’t like him, that is up to him, but we are saying we now want him to lead now.

“To . . . Mnangagwa, Chikara, I am sorry you may say we have exposed you, but that is the game now Shumba (VP’s totem).

“We want you to take over from Gushungo and make sure that you take care of his family. So, we are going to hit the campaign trail for you as our presidential candidate next year,” Tsenengamu said.

“We are calling upon our mothers and fathers, the war veterans, to lead us in this. We have identified the successor and now like you did during the war, show us the way,” he added.

Tsenengamu also warned Zanu PF against making any attempt to expel Mnangagwa from the party, saying such a move would be “a monumental mistake”.

“Uyu haachadzingike uyu (This one cannot be sacked anymore). You can only talk to him and allow your wife and other members of the G40 to raise their fears so that he takes care of that.

“If you sack him from the party, you will be left only with the Zanu PF headquarters. We want that person (Mnangagwa) because he has been so loyal to you.

“He can guarantee your security instead of you leaving through elections after a defeat by the opposition, because we will sabotage you,” Tsenengamu said.

He also let rip at powerful First Lady Grace Mugabe for the controversial comments she made during her Buhera rally last Friday.

“You (Grace) are a hired spoiler and they (G40) know you are a rough swimmer, but I want to warn you Amai that you can fool around with all other people but touch not the successor (Mnangagwa) because it’s not about him as an individual, but the future of our children. So, you should know your limits.

“If you think you can sustain the game, then go on to your next rally. But one thing for sure is that Zanu PF will be no more, because this will be met with resistance,” he warned.

At her Friday rally, Grace gave fresh legs to the loud whispers within the ruling party that her husband wants to rule Zimbabwe for life — particularly as she also went on to tell the gathered crowd that if Mugabe were to die, Zimbabweans would vote for his corpse.

“You will hear people saying you want Mugabe to continue so that you will remain as the first lady. It’s unfair. Don’t expect me to tell him to retire when there are millions who voted for him.

“There can be miracles. If God decides that Mugabe should go and we put pictures of his corpse on the ballot paper, people will still vote for him and he will win the election,” she told the gathered Zanu PF supporters.

In May last year, Grace also stunned thousands of Zanu PF supporters who had gathered in Harare for a solidarity rally with her husband when she said Mugabe would rule Zimbabwe from the grave.

“We want you to lead this country from your grave, while you lie at the National Heroes’ Acre,” she said.

And speaking during a rally at Murehwa Business Centre in 2015, the influential first lady also warned Zanu PF heavyweights that she was going to design a special wheelchair from which Mugabe would rule until he was 100 years old.

“We are going to create a special wheelchair for president Mugabe until he rules to 100 years because that is what we want. That is the people’s choice. We want a leader that respects us,” she said.

The Zanu PF youth league has also since formally moved a motion, at the ruling party’s annual conference which was held in Masvingo last December, for Mugabe to be declared life president.

But the secretary-general of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA), Victor Matemadanda, said yesterday that whatever plans the Mugabes had, these would be resisted vigorously.

“There are so many corpses out there and we would rather be ruled by the corpse of chairman (the late Herbert) Chitepo because he was among the people who shaped the war. Mugabe was not there,” the angry Matemadanda told the Daily News.

“Mugabe cannot tell us there is no successor. He should just retire because he has failed. He ran down this country to the extent that potholes are now fishponds and yet he thinks that he is the best thing that has ever happened to Zimbabwe.

“As war veterans, we have always said that Mugabe wants to create a dynastic rule and this is what Zimbabweans should fight against lawfully. Mugabe should not be allowed to have another term,” he added.

Political analysts also warned that Mugabe may have given the opposition a window of opportunity to profit from Zanu PF’s worsening succession wars.

“The fact that Mugabe has not seen it fit to groom or even appoint a successor is indicative of the poor regard with which he views his colleagues in Zanu PF.

“He has always viewed himself as largely peerless, and the recent comments come as no surprise given his record,” said analyst McDonald Lewanika, pointing to the “Bhora Musango” developments of 2008 when disaffected Zanu PF supporters had voted for the opposition.

Another analyst, Maxwell Saungweme predicted that Mugabe’s statement would adversely affect Zanu PF’s chances in 2018, as it had fuelled “more confusion and factional fights”.

“This will place the opposition at an advantage if the opposition capitalises on this and form a strong coalition under one candidate,” he said.

Comments (13)

Tashaya zvekuita nekamudhara or tingati kaharahwa aka. Grace is the main problem otherwise she could have advised his old, frail and senile man to retire. But because Gire is busy looting money from the coffers and other resources from the system while the old man and Zimbabwe is dying. She is busy siphoning millions of US dollars to Asia..but alas as of me..l will also use my own resources to hunt her down together with the Zhuwaos. When the Robbers and Muggers are dead, we eliminate all those who had to do with them. All the Robbers and Muggers associates will bear the brunt or rather will follow their old man in the grave. Mark my will happen and don't be suprised or flabbergasted when you see it happening. Klarly and taneta

Clemence Tashaya - 21 February 2017

To u all analyst, do u think Mugabe doesn't know that if he fail to name his successor the party will split badly??,he knows but he don't care&he knows his tricks.Read carefully on his comments then u will see that he is a one man with everything in the race,the judges are his so he know that no matter how the people can turn against him he got the results on his fever.The only way to win is to bring united Nations,the voter registration & the running of elections,, but that will not happen because ZANU will not allow it.As long as zec is in charge let's forget about winning elections.

Matsotsi - 21 February 2017

Our father Zimbabwe spoke about this man early in 1983 at a press conference where he said i can for see Mugabe will easily destroy this democracy whom Zimbabweans hardly fought for ,but today we are really living onto his words,shem on you comrade killer Mnangagwa as you once boasted of being trained to kill other Zimbabweans you were used to murder innocent Ndebele man and woman by Bob and you went on to assasinate those who were seen to be threatening your master's stay in power the likes of Morven Mahachi,Border Gezi and the General Rex Nhongo who in numerous occasions questioned Mugabe hanging onto power,you did this all Mnangagwa hoping that the button will be passed on you without knowing very well that you are dealing with chameleon,the next thing you will be shown the exit door as you are told by Grace that you must retire yourself as you are also old as you started this destructive journey in 1980.

Msongelwa ngwenyama - 21 February 2017

R.G MUGABE is a democratic leader.. he doesnt want to impose his successor to the people .

#bring back our flag - 22 February 2017

Mr. Tsenengamu any battle needs a commander to better the chances of victory, your ED is very reluctant to lead you because he is very much alive to the fact that he is a hard sell and just like all in zanupf / warvets their time is up and not relevent to the future of Zimbabwe. Citizenry will remember you fondly if indeed you mobilise your faction to sabbotage zanupf (bhora musango style) in the upcoming election for an opposition (MDC T) victory.

Sinyo - 22 February 2017

Tsenengamu lacks political ideology.The difference between Mugabe and ED is that of age.We need real change

hozo - 22 February 2017

no one among the ordinary people is worthy it,,,,,,,,,SO HE IS A GOOD LEADER

R.G - 22 February 2017

The elections will be rigged again, so the rulers can continue to insult the intelligence of all Zimbabweans with impunity, by suggesting that they will vote for the President's corpse.

just common sense - 22 February 2017

I will say it again, the real morons and idiots are the members of Zanu PF. Your so-called "leader" is arrogant, contemptuous and vile. He reckons NONE of you can rule, except his wife. What else can we call YOU? .... and you ULULATE?? Some of the idiots are even congratulating the character in this paper - insane!!

Sagitarr - 22 February 2017

Vana vembwa havasvinuri musi mumwe .Iyi mbwanana yazosvinura asi mai vapedza kudya dzimwe chasara ndiyo kudyiwa.

Aluta Continua - 22 February 2017

Vanavevhu, please don't be tricked by this aged, but once Grandmaster. This is a man who sacrificed ALL the people who fought in his corner starting at Mgagao. My uncle was killed in that thicket of things!! This is a man who was very much scared of Tongogara although he knew that some of Tongo's decisions were questionable. Rex Nhongo, the man whom many comrades say "sold-out" in favour of Mugabe, was later killed by Mugabe's people. He knows very well that Mnangagwa is aware of all these things and knows that he will eventually take over!! What he wants is a reason for HIS family to live Zimbabwe for ever!! Can't you see this?

selele - 22 February 2017

Ha ha you have to pity these ED Lacoste surrogates. The man cant even win an election in his constituency, come on. If Bob fires/retires all the military and police leaders thought to be in ED back pocket then he is done. Either way, without Bob there is no Zanu so they can rearrange the chairs on the titanic all they want.

Galore - 22 February 2017

It seems politics is for the few to understand. Every household in Zimbabwe has either a certificate, diploma or degree holder and are not employed. This is wasted human life that needs ato lead an honest life but could not because of corruption and inefficiencies of zanu pf. honestly does it make sense to vote for a 93 yr old to lead a country? Ko mukadzi wake anodei kuti zvambo diiko? Zanu pf yacho ingashaya umwe angaitungamirira here?

mudya - 23 February 2017

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