(Last Updated on October 14, 2015 by Editor)
ZIMBABWE – There are growing fears among some of Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s supporters that President Robert Mugabe’s controversial wife, Grace, is “hell-bent” on decapitating the embattled Midlands godfather in the same brutal way that she fronted the decimation of former Vice President Joice Mujuru late last year.
This comes as desperate attempts by Mnangagwa’s supporters to call for a politburo meeting tomorrow and a central committee meeting on Thursday, to block a rally by the First Lady set for tomorrow in Mashonaland Central failed.
Last night Grace and her backers, who include the Generation 40 (G40) group, which is said to be fronted by among others Zanu-PF political commissar, Saviour Kasukuwere successfully dissuaded the party from holding the two meetings, saying
they could only be done after the First Lady’s rally in Rushinga.
At the same time, analysts told yesterday that history appeared to be repeating itself within the bitterly-divided and
faction-ridden post-congress Zanu PF, with Mugabe’s contested succession set to result in more purges of the party’s senior officials, possibly including Mnangagwa.
“For a long time we all thought it was just the Gamatox (Mujuru’s supporters) and the G40 sell-outs who wanted to destroy the VP, but recent events suggest that Dr Amai (Grace) is actively part of this plot and hell-bent on frustrating him,” a senior Zanu PF official said.
United Kingdom-based law lecturer, Alex Magaisa, said events of the past few months within the warring ruling party clearly pointed to the fact that there were some people being targeted by Grace, particularly when she addressed her numerous rallies around the country.
“I think we are seeing a familiar pattern here, where public rallies are used to mobilise people against targeted rivals. It’s easier to work through mobs than in committee rooms.
“By the time they go to their politburo meetings and the party’s conference in December, it may be a fait accompli. I think the
conference is the target for the ultimate humiliation, just like what happened at last year’s disputed congress.
“Even if they don’t get Mnangagwa removed, they will probably purge his top allies, leaving him exposed,” Magaisa, a former advisor to opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, said.
“The saying in politics is that if you catch the puppet, its owner will complain. They will target smaller officials in order to get Mnangagwa to come out in their defence because if he fails to defend them, others in his camp will desert him, just like what happened with Mujuru last year.
“When she failed to defend her people, many grew cold feet and deserted her, although they were still purged later on,” Magaisa added.
In a Facebook posting, political analyst and director of political think tank, the Zimbabwe Democracy Institute (ZDI), Pedzisai Ruhanya, said Grace’s actions pointed to “one thing and that is elbowing Mnangagwa from the presidential race”.
“Dr Amai is de facto party and State President, (she) orders ministers and State institutions like ZBC-TV to cover her live events something all the VPs, dead or alive, never did.
“Through the live television coverage, she outlines government business and policies, dishes out food stuffs and farming inputs.
“This projects and positions Grace as Mugabe’s successor. What would be the purpose of this if not power? The two VPs, especially Mnangagwa, have no access and resources to distribute around the country and are not projected in a similar manner and measure.
“Whatever happens, what is becoming clear is that Grace or whoever she wants, not Mnangagwa, will succeed Mugabe, unless there are tectonic shifts. The Croco (Mnangagwa) could be a lizard after all,” Ruhanya said.
Another political analyst, Maxwell Saungweme, also said the events of the past few week presented “a dark cloud” for Mnangagwa, as Grace had the power “to do as she pleases in Zanu PF”.
He said things were looking very ominous for Mnangagwa, to the extent that he could even be expelled from the post-congress Zanu PF “in similar fashion to Mujuru” if the political climate within the party did not change for the better.
“Nothing is predictable, but based on recent history he may be facing the axe.
“But as much as Mugabe’s faculties are waning, he still has some modicum of sense on some issues and he may be forced to leave Mnangagwa there for some stability in the party and government.
“But then again, Zanu PF resembles a chaotic scene, a game of monkeyswhich is very difficult to predict in terms of what is coming next.
“Given Grace’s ego and her lack of touch on the damage caused by her shenanigans in the party and government, Mnangagwa might soon see his last days in that gravy train,” Saungweme said.
A senior Zanu PF member who said it was ironic that when Mujuru “was being publicly undressed”, Mnangagwa had claimed that the revolution was undergoing “self-chlorination”.
“He said the revolution had a way of strengthening itself and that it moved in cycles. This means that this is another cycle where the revolution is ridding itself of elements that have become inconsistent with the correct line as Mnangagwa himself said,” the official said gleefully.
“He should take it like a man and not cry foul now because he claimed to be the grandmaster of Zimbabwean politics,” said the member, who is widely identified with the G40 camp.
In an ominous move, the increasingly-influential Grace has once again hit the road, mounting rallies across the country’s 10 provinces that insiders agree portend trouble for the Mnangagwa camp — as they are a repeat of her divisive nationwide tours ahead of Zanu PF’s congress last December.
Speaking in Manicaland last week, Grace said cryptically that there were some senior party officials who appeared dressed but, because of their corruption, are actually naked — utterances that were ominously similar to her attacks on Mujuru and her allies last year.
And just like this time around, Grace and her apologists denied vehemently when she embarked on her Mujuru onslaughts then, that she was referring to the popular widow of the late liberation war struggle icon, General Solomon Mujuru.
However, she eventually came out in the open — supported by her nonagenarian husband — and pinned all her bizarre charges on the former VP, history that is making some of Mnangagwa’s supporters very nervous. The spokesperson of the “original” Zanu PF that uses the slogan People First, and which is presumptively led by Mujuru, Rugare Gumbo, also told yesterday that history appeared to be repeating itself.
“He (Mnangagwa) is having a taste of his own medicine. We also all know that what comes around goes around,” he said.