ZIMBABWE – The recent Cabinet reshuffle appears to have consolidated Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s Zanu PF faction in the battle to succeed President Robert Mugabe, analysts said on Saturday.
Analysts said Mnangagwa’s faction significantly gained from the reshuffle on Friday as his close allies from Midlands — Joram Gumbo, Makhosini Hlongwane and Anastancia Ndlovu — got Cabinet posts.
Political analysts told The Standard on Saturday that the Cabinet reshuffle may further widen the factional fissures after Mnangagwa’s faction that came out tops may seek to promote consolidation of its position ahead of the 2018 elections University of Zimbabwe political science professor Eldred Masunungure said the reshuffle was more about factional consolidation than healing factionalism in the party.
“It [controlling factionalism] may be the motive behind the reshuffling, but the imperative has to do more with factional consolidation.
The faction leaders will now be taking stock on the appointments, asking who belongs to which faction and this will widen rather than heal the factional fissures,” Masunungure said.
He added: “The presumed winner will seek to consolidate power and possibly become the party candidate
in 2018 polls, or the next party leader after Mugabe.”
Law lecturer and former adviser in the redundant Prime Minister’s Office, Alex Magaisa, on his blog said Mugabe was trying to do a hard balancing act on the succession matrix in the party.
“A study of the coterie of deputy ministers and their respective allegiances between the factions will also reveal that this was an exercise in balancing the succession equation,” Magaisa wrote.
He added: “President Mugabe’s current solution seems to be to pacify the factions by appointing more and more of them into government, hoping to keep everyone happy.”
The analysts also believe that Mugabe was not worried about the financial implications of the recent reshuffle.
They said the President was only concerned about controlling the debilitating factionalism in his party at a time opposition parties seem to be finding each other to form a coalition against his rule.
Political analyst Ibbo Mandaza said the constant realignment of Mugabe’s Cabinet showed that the veteran ruler was having sleepless nights trying to deal with the post-Mujuru fallout in Zanu PF.
“The reshuffles show the impact of the purge that was done last year,” Mandaza said.
“The ramifications will not be over soon. Zanu PF is in a deep crisis and this could signal the end to it. Mugabe is having sleepless nights over Mujuru.”