By Mthulisi Mathuthu
SW Radio Africa
03 February 2014
ZANU PF factionalism is in full focus following a report that justice minister, Emmerson Mnangagwa, is allegedly in a secret deal with the security service chiefs to take over as the leader of the country after President Robert Mugabe.
The report, which analysts see as a plant by a faction led by Mnangagwa, appeared in the Telescope News last Friday. The report claimed that the deal was cut between the army and other security service chiefs in January following a ‘gentlemen’s agreement’ between Mugabe and Mnangagwa.
The report quotes an unnamed senior army officer ‘working close with the Chief of Staff in Harare’ confirming the development. According to the official, Mnangagwa was ‘secretly sworn in’ at an ‘intensive meeting’ held at Mugabe’s residence.
Mugabe is reported to have consented to the deal. The report seeks to give the impression that the alleged deal had already put paid to vice president Joice Mujuru’s hopes of becoming the next leader. Mugabe, the report further claimed, then pleaded that there should be no retribution against Mujuru because that will destroy the party.
Mujuru was largely seen as the favorite to take over from Mugabe after her faction won more provinces during ZANU PF elections last year. At the time analysts warned that Mnangagwa was capable of launching a fight back. Already many see the ZANU PF factional infighting as the main driver of the current exposés on public officials’ mega-salaries. So far most of the people affected by the exposés are said to be linked to a faction led by Mujuru, leading to beliefs that the Mnangagwa faction is instigating the whole exercise.
A ZANU PF politburo member, who claimed not to be aligned to any faction, is quoted saying Mnangagwa is ‘cunning’ and will get it ‘right this time’. The politburo member said the issue is a ‘credible fact’ and only ‘deaf or dumb’ people still don’t know that Mnangagwa is the next president.
According to the report, China also has an interest in Mnangagwa taking over from Mugabe. The Asian giant has many business interests in the country including in diamond mining and agriculture where they have joint ventures with the army. On the other hand the CIO are said to suspect that Mujuru has connections with western intelligence. A WikiLeaks report of a few years ago said Mujuru secretly met with former US envoy Charles Ray in 2009.
But political analyst and newspaper columnist Dumisani Nyongolo Nkomo, said in no way would Mugabe agree to Mnangagwa’s deal with the army. He said Mugabe could be interested in strengthening the Mnangagwa faction to counter Mujuru’s faction, which emerged victorious during the party’s elections last year.
Nkomo said it is possible that the report was generated by the Mnangagwa faction to give the impression that it had the backing of the army. Nkomo said he sees the report and the ongoing revelations on public executives’ salaries as part of a fight back by the Mnangagwa faction.