Mnangagwa bid to succeed Mugabe faces hurdles

ACTING President Emmerson Mnangagwa has publicly ignored attacks by members of a Zanu PF faction known as the G40 and continued on a charm offensive that has won him admirers and sympathisers in the battle to succeed President Robert Mugabe.

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BY SILENCE CHARUMBIRA

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Of late, Mnangagwa has been on the receiving end of vitriolic attacks from G40 members seeking to block his chances of succeeding Mugabe.

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On Saturday, Mnangagwa went on a charm offensive when he told delegates attending National Presidential Prayer breakfast meeting in Harare that the “country needed leaders of integrity”.

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Higher Education minister Jonathan Moyo, believed to be one of the G40 members, recently insinuated that Mnangagwa’s appointment as Vice-President did not make him heir apparent or automatically qualify him to succeed the ageing Zanu PF leader.

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Other members of the G40 are believed to be Local Government minister Saviour Kasukuwere, Mugabe’s nephew and Youth minister Patrick Zhuwao. The group is reportedly backed by First Lady Grace Mugabe.

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Analysts yesterday described Mnangagwa’s “quiet diplomacy” as a sign of political maturity and tactful strategy to spite his detractors.
\nAcademic Ibbo Mandaza yesterday said it could be Mnangagwa’s strategy to appear as if everything was normal.

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“The strategy, among some in Zanu PF, is to appear as if everything is normal. It is a defensive strategy isn’t it? The other side is that he is not relenting,” Mandaza said.

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University of Zimbabwe political science lecturer Eldred Masunungure said: “The starting point is, there is a significant generation gap between Mnangagwa and the G40 and Mnangagwa may be saying they are acting in an immature way. He is trying to distance himself from the fights and saying to the people this is how a mature person responds.”

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Another analyst Blessing Vava said Mnangagwa was treading carefully to avoid being hounded out of the ruling party the same way former Vice-President Joice Mujuru was.

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“I think he is carefully calculating his moves and I think he does not want to be seen as that ambitious person who wants to succeed President Mugabe and the moment he does that [show ambition] the quicker the machinery would be unleashed against him like what happened to the Mujuru crew,” Vava said.

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“He knows that he has a tainted image, and he is on a path of rebranding himself, but obviously it is all again to do with presenting himself as the suitable candidate to succeed President Mugabe.”

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Moyo, who has been on a social media campaign attacking his enemies on Saturday tweeted: “On any day and time I would rather enjoy the innocence of being labelled childish than being labelled as murderous!” apparently responding to an attack by Gokwe legislator Justice Mayor Wadyajena who had called him childish on Twitter. – NewsDay

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