Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s associates claim he is not bothered by the campaign by a Zanu PF faction known as G40 to push him out of his post Joice Mujuru style.
BY BLESSED MHLANGA
First Lady Grace Mugabe — believed to be the G40 kingpin — took the fight against Mnanagwa to the public arena at a rally in Chiweshe last month.
She accused Mnangagwa of plotting against Mugabe and saying bad things about the 92-year-old leader’s family.
Mnangagwa has not responded to the attacks in public, amid a vicious purge targeting his followers.
Seven Zanu PF provincial youth chairpersons, former War Veterans minister Christopher Mutsvangwa and his wife Monica are some of the high-profile victims of the purge.
Mnangagwa associates said he would not respond to the allegations against him or defend his faction against the purges because that would give his enemies a chance to pounce on him.
“It is business as usual for Mnangagwa because he is not worried by these small boys in G40, those pushing for a response from him will be disappointed. Remember, he is a crocodile, he does not go hunting, he waits silently under water and attacks at the right time,” said the source.
Psychomotor minister Josaya Hungwe once described Mnangawa as a shrewd politician during a party in Zvishavane to celebrate the Midlands strongman’s ascendency to the VP’s position in 2014.
Hungwe said Mnangagwa behaved like a real crocodile, which does not hunt for its prey but lies in wait in muddy waters, only to strike without fail at the opportune time. He said Mnangagwa was the most resilient person in the country.
“It’s a matter of calculation because a crocodile does not hunt, but waits for its time…those who wanted it to strike in 1980 got it all wrong. It only caught at the right time,” he said at the time.
Mnangagwa could have become VP in 2004 but was blocked by Mugabe who preferred Mujuru for the post.
A decade later, Mugabe made a summersault and dumped Mujuru in favour of his long-time lieutenant.
Hungwe said Mnangagwa was a patient, principled and calculative politician whose meteoric rise to political stardom was ordained by Mugabe and God.
Fears that Mnangagwa will be left exposed and without support if his supporters are systematically purged out of Zanu PF have been allayed by his handlers.
“Zanu PF has never worked on popular vote. If you look at the time Joice Mujuru was elevated to vice-president, we had eight chairmen who supported Mnangagwa for that post. Numbers don’t matter, this party works on a command structure and he is our commander,” said another insider.
The insiders said Mnangagwa enjoyed support from the military, State security agents and judiciary, the structures which are instrumental for anyone who wants to lead the country and as long as he remained in Zanu PF, he was safe.
“The plan is to keep Mnangagwa inside Zanu PF. From there he can recall his fired comrades and easily take control of the party. But if he speaks out and he is fired, that will all be lost,” said another source.
Political analyst Ernest Mudzengi said Mnangagwa had no choice but to remain silent because he can only hope to sustain his ambitions of succeeding Mugabe by remaining in Zanu PF.
“His survival is within Zanu PF, so if he speaks up in defence of his supporters, then he will be hounded out. He therefore cannot say anything, he can’t rock the boat,” he said.
“You have often heard him say there is no life outside Zanu PF; it’s a party that he has been in from his childhood and to expect him to go out now would be expecting too much.”
Mnangagwa appears to be adopting the same strategy he used during the 2004 Tsholotsho debacle where seven provincial chairmen, including his closest ally July Moyo, were suspended from the party for supporting his ascendency to the vice-presidency.
The VP remained silent and did not offer any protection to those affected, including his arch rival, Higher Education minister Jonathan Moyo, who was allegedly at the centre of the botched plan.