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‘ Mugabe ’s succession race far from over’

ZANU PF’s fiercely contested provincial elections reached a denouement yesterday with a faction linked to Vice-President Joice Mujuru poised to sweep most of the polls.


The elections marred by allegations of vote buying and rigging, have left the party heavily divided as different factions openly fought to position their members for powerful positions ahead of next year’s elective congress.

Analysts said Mujuru’s victory in the provincial polls has given her an unassailable edge in the race to succeed 89-year-old President Robert Mugabe. But others are of the view that it is not automatic that she will take over the party leadership. Mujuru and Justice minister Emmerson Mnangagwa, are the leading contenders in the race to succeed Mugabe. Both deny harbouring any ambitions.

Political scientist, Shakespear Hamauswa said while winning provincial elections was crucial in the succession matrix, it was just but one step among several others. He said there were some important constituencies within Zanu PF, as well as outside the party whose support was indispensable, such as the youth wing and the women’s assembly.

“Without the support of these, winning the succession battle only with provincial chairpersons is not guaranteed,” he said. He said the security sector; especially the army and the intelligence, were also among the kingmakers in Zimbabwean politics.

Hamauswa said a win on the political front without the support of such important constituencies was like building without a foundation.

“In fact, it will be a giant with clay feet,” he said. “Above all, if the hand over takeover is to take place within Mugabe’s lifetime, then the old man remains the master key who can untie all the golden knots standing in the way of his preferred successor. This old man is good at surprises. He can hand-pick someone whom we never thought of.”

The political scientist said Mujuru and Mnangagwa have in the past been assigned to various tasks by Mugabe. He said in so doing, their aptitude, reaction to crises and complex situations and their treatment of issues of national cause have been tested.

“He has the reports in his file and he knows who is a graduate between the two,” he said. “It really seems Mnangagwa had passed some of the tests with flying colours for it is believed he played an important role toward the establishment of the GNU, the end of civil war in Mozambique, among many other achievements.”

Hamauswa said it was best that Mujuru and Mnangagwa concealed their intentions not only by denying media allegations but by acting as if they did not know of the “animal” called succession.

“Again the two need to take control of their supporters. They should also have their views on national interests straight,” he said.
University of Zimbabwe political science lecturer, Eldred Masunungure said people should not rush to conclude that Mujuru was now certain to take over as the party congress was still a year away.

He said politics by its very nature was highly dynamic.

“It’s changeable as the weather,” said Masunungure. “A year in politics is a very long time. Lots of interventions can happen to upset one’s ambition.”
He said Mugabe thrived on infights and conflicts in the Zanu PF party and had now developed an art of delicately balancing the interests of the different factions in the party.

Masunungure said Mugabe did not want someone too close to hem, hence Mujuru’s success in the provincial elections could prove to be her undoing. “She is more strategically positioned courtesy of elections but this may point to a downward trend in her fortunes. With Mugabe, when one appears to be reaching the summit, all of a sudden you can be a target for demotion.”

‘Mujuru looks poised to grab the Zanu PF throne’

political analyst, Gift Mambipiri said Mujuru looks poised to grab the Zanu PF throne ahead of Mnangagwa and any other factional leader who may emerge within the next 12 months.

“Mai Mujuru has outfoxed and outrun her challengers, and she also has a better appeal to the electorate than other factional leaders that are rumoured to have an interest,” he said. “It must be clear to everyone that Mugabe will only be succeeded by his anointed successor. If you carefully look at the developments and characters that have run the party since the Zanu PF primary elections, the cabinet appointments, recent politburo pronouncements and the results that came so far from provincial elections, then you can’t miss the open truth that Mujuru seems to be the annointed one.”

Another political analyst, Alois Masepe, was also of the opinion that the battle to succeed Mugabe was being fought in provinces. “The provinces are the kingmakers as they are the electorate at the next congress. Whoever wins at provincial level is almost guaranteed to get the top post,” he said.
Masepe said using Zanu PF’s hierarchical system; Mujuru had all but sealed her ascendancy.

“Anyone who leapfrogs Mujuru will have to use other means. All she has to do is protect her territory, entrench her position and maintain her popularity,” he said.

Masepe said there were two movements in Zanu PF, one which is pro-hierarchy and the other that is anti-hierarchy. He said the anti-hierarchy movement was trying to disturb the status quo and cause the emergence of a new leadership.

“If those on the hierarchy sit on their laurels and say we are there, they will be shocked,” he said, adding it was only through manipulation and machination that Mujuru can be upstaged.

14 Responses to ‘ Mugabe ’s succession race far from over’

  1. chemusoro December 1, 2013 at 11:31 am #

    the army and the intelligence, are nothing in Zimbabwean politics , those are merely civil servants are are heavily divided

  2. aran December 1, 2013 at 11:34 am #

    Mothers vapinda

  3. jonso December 1, 2013 at 11:38 am #

    What is important is that Mother is now as good as the next President

  4. Wayaka December 1, 2013 at 12:37 pm #

    Thank God mothers is drawing closer to th throne coz she looks more concerned about th pple than politicking, as compared to ngwena who’s knwn to b ruthless.JTR is th pple’s prefered choice & i bet her ascendancy wil attract huge crowds even 4rm th opposition parties

  5. Onslo December 1, 2013 at 1:39 pm #

    Mothers mapinda. Asi please edzai kusaita hutsinye nevanhu.

    Honai zvakaita Mai Banda ku Malawi?

    Kuita ikoko?


  6. Musona December 1, 2013 at 3:38 pm #

    These political an*lysts who are always quoted in the press what do they base their facts on? This is all nonsense that Mujuru and Mnangagwa are fighting to succeed Mugabe. Mugabe is a control freak and will not allow anyone to challenge his position which he has always wanted since he was aged 10 years.

  7. Musona December 1, 2013 at 3:43 pm #

    Mwanasikana, Bona, is the one who is being groomed to take over from daddy not these plots by factions in ZanuPF being reported in the press. All the speculation about Mnangagwa or Joice Mujuru succeeding are wide off the mark.

  8. paurosi December 1, 2013 at 3:44 pm #

    aaaaaaah b very careful wth politics esp kuma cdes iwaya bvunzai mdc…….du u stl remember her rallies ignore her at yo own peril.

  9. Gwabalanda December 1, 2013 at 4:49 pm #

    in the absence of mdc , the only respectable alternative is Mrs Mujuru. to me she represents potential future stability in the country and may easily unite the entire country and be internationally acceptable. she is likeable, which is an important factor.

    • Musona December 1, 2013 at 6:20 pm #

      @Gwabalanda – you don’t know what you are talking about. Joice Mujuru is not up to the task. If I was in charge she would not be get a job to make tea in my office. Running a country is much more complex than what people think. There’s nothing special about Joice Mujuru.

      • Mangwiro December 1, 2013 at 9:55 pm #

        A country cannot be run by a president. All countries run by presidents are doomed to fail.

      • wasu December 2, 2013 at 4:17 pm #

        there is also nothing important about emmerson

  10. Observer December 1, 2013 at 9:08 pm #

    Zezurus cant misrule this country forever.Vushe madzoro.

  11. Ndabve Sebungwe December 10, 2013 at 10:03 am #

    It’s true Mugabe is in full control of everthing within and without Zanu Pf, be it succession, factionalism, corruption, farm invasions, killings i mean everything but he’s no longer in control of his destiny. He may have ambitions of having one of his siblingings succeed him when he choose to retire but its too late, time is not on his side, they are all too young against the hard core politicians like the Croco, JTM, Tsvangison, Sekeramai, Chiwengwas, Muguti, Chamisa and Biti.
    A successor wanted by Mugabe is one who will keep Zanu Pf going, one who will complete what he has started (black empowerment ) and keep his legacy going. One who will be able to turn around the Nation’s fortunes in favaour of the people. And lastly but not least protect him, his family and wealth from persecution and plunder. Or else he will not let go he will rather wait for Chatunga to take over.

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