Mugabe succession russian roulette

President Robert Mugabe's tenacious succession race is all but facing it's apocalypse, with the latest dismantling of Zanu PF's contentious District Coordinating Committee (DCC) elections being a clear indicator that the ailing leader's principal competitors, Vice President Joice Mujuru and defence minister Emmerson Mnangagwa are caught up in the dangerous game of Russian roulette.

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Investigations and briefings to the The Zimbabwe Mail by Zanu PF insiders over the weekend show that, Mnangagwa whose faction prevailed in winning the DCC elections before the results were unceremoniously terminated by the party’s central committee and politburo is currently facing an ouster plot from succeeding Mugabe, which has been hatched by his nemesis from the Mujuru faction.

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The defence minister’s faction won key national provinces such as his homeland turf of the Midlands, and Masvingo which is the biggest and populous province in Zimbabwe among others.

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Bikita for instance is the largest rural district in Masvingo, and it is thought Mnangagwa was bating on consolidating rural votes from the platform he mastered when he was Rural Housing and Social Amenities minister.

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Ever since the emergence of the Movement for Democratic change (MDC) in the year 2000 as an electoral threat to Mugabe, Zanu PF has had to bank on rural votes to stay in power after losing the urban vote to disgruntled urbanites.

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Mujuru, who had been enfeebled by the death of her late army general husband, Solomon in a mysterious farm-house fire last year is enjoying a new spring in her step after her faction managed to cast concrete on Mnangagwa’s DCC power leverage. However, it might all be short-lived following reports that her arch-rival will now throw everything to regain momentum and subsequently wait for the right moment to strike for the highest job in the country.

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“Amai (Mujuru) was in stress because of the DCC elections results, such that she lost in her own stronghold bases,” a Zanu PF central committee member revealed. “Her faction was quick to wise up, and they sought audience with Mugabe to overturn these elections otherwise Mnangagwa was on his way to power. They had to react fast.”

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Our briefings and findings show that Mujuru’s faction has been bolstered by the arrival of new party heavyweights who are now putting their weight behind her presidential candidature. These include Zanu PF political commissar Webster Shamu, party secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa and party spokesman Rugare Gumbo.

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Gumbo and Mnangagwa ironically hail from the same home area but appear to have personal differences after having previously tussled for seniority in the Midlands province. Mutasa on the other hand was the first to come out with his guns blazing against International press reports about a “gentlemen’s” agreement between Mugabe and Mnangagwa assuring him of the job when he leaves office.

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The secretary for administration, who works directly with Mugabe as minister of state for presidential affairs said Mnangagwa was very faraway from the throne and that Mujuru was better positioned for the post, since she is next in line according to Zanu PF’s organogram.

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Shamu has been seen in the past week escorting Mujuru around his Chegutu constituency in a literal demonstration of allegiance and support for her bid to takeover as Zanu PF leader.    

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Mutasa told The Zimbabwe Mail in an interview that he was not against Mnangagwa, nor was he blocking him for pursuing his presidential ambitions.

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“People saying I”m using the DCC disbandment to block Emmerson Mnangagwa from becoming president are wrong,” Said Mutasa. “There is nothing wrong with Mnangagwa’s ambition to be president, but we have procedures to be adhered to in the party. One cannot wake up from the blues to say I want to be president; anyone aspiring for such office will have to wait to be nominated and endorsed by congress, simple. We have rules and a constitution that guides us.”

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“Like any organisation Zanu PF has its own challenges. We decided to disband the DCC elections through the politburo and central committee therefore they are no longer part of our party constitution. I cannot tell you the reason we disbanded these organs, because there is no reason for us to be disclosing party information all the time. All I can say is that the DCC elections had become cumbersome and unattainable thus the course of action taken.”

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Influential politicians and senior civil servants believed to be backing Mnangagwa include: National security minister Sydney Sekeramayi, Police chief Augustine Chihuri, CIO boss Happyton Bonyongwe, and most recently promoted major generals in the army notably Major-General Douglas Nyikayaramba who is the Chief of staff Quartermaster at the Defence forces headquarters in the capital.

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The Zimbabwe Mail has also understands that moderates in Zanu PF prefer Mujuru, because of having a less tainted image but worry that she is a very weak leader compared to Mnangagwa.

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Senior military and intelligence officers backing Mnangagwa are said to be content with him, but worry that he might become too powerful once handed the leadership of the country. Others in the security services establishment are not too sure weather or not to trust the defence minister because he is “unpredictable”.

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So serious is the battle for Zimbabwe, such that the some element in the military are tossing off a third faction plan. This third distinct faction fighting to takeover from Mugabe is increasingly visible, and it is basically one containing active and retired soldiers or intelligence operatives. Some of the protagonists include: Retired Air vice Marshal Henry Muchena, former intelligence deputy Director-General director Sydney Nyanhongo and current Zimbabwe Defence Forces Commander Constantine Chiwenga.

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