Army backs Sekeramayi to succeed Mugabe

DEFENCE minister Sydney Sekeramayi’s name is featuring prominently among those who believe a compromise candidate to eventually succeed President Robert Mugabe should be identified to avoid a potential split, as the intensifying succession struggle threatens to tear Zanu PF apart ahead of a crucial congress in December.

Owen Gagare

The acrimonious succession battle, largely fought covertly, is worrying a section of the military and some party officials who now believe it may be better if the reins of the party are not taken by one of the leading factional leaders, Vice-President Joice Mujuru and Justice minister Emmerson Mnangagwa, when Mugabe finally leaves office.

Just as the military was discussing possible scenarios ahead of the general elections last year, some military figures are now discussing scenarios in the post-Mugabe era in the wake of continued infighting in the party which has occasionally played out in the state media, which Mugabe recently alleged is being used to divide the party.

Sources told the Zimbabwe Independent that although the military did not want to publicly wade into the succession row, a number of party officials are becoming increasingly restless as cracks in Zanu PF continue to widen.

“The feeling is that it may be in the best interests of the party if neither of the two frontrunners lands the top post. Another person with experience and capacity to mend bridges may be necessary considering how torn apart the party is,” said a high-ranking party source.

“There is a possibility that the party may split if one of the factions assumes power. A neutral and level headed candidate, if one can be found, would be the best to take over. Someone who is cool, calm and collected like Sekeramayi could be a good choice and that’s what a number of people are pushing for. His name has been on the lips of many people.

“Essentially, people are discussing the possibility of having a compromise candidate who has been in the struggle for a long time and understands security matters and Sekeramayi’s name is top of the list.”

Sekeramayi is one of the four individuals from Zimbabwe’s first cabinet after Independence alongside Mugabe, Mujuru and Mnangagwa who are still serving. He was appointed Lands minister in the first cabinet.

The other member Dzingai Mutumbuka, Zimbabwe’s first Education and Culture minister at Independence, is no longer politically active.
Sekeramayi has mostly been in charge of Defence ministries including the Ministry of Defence and State Security.

He was Minister of State for National Security between 1984 and 1988.

From 2001 to 2009 he was the Minister of Defence. He moved to the Ministry of State Security during the inclusive government era (2009 and 2013). After elections last year he was appointed Defence minister.

His knowledge in security matters has been one of the key reasons he is touted as a replacement.

Zanu PF officials said although Mugabe has kept his preferred candidate close to his chest, there are indications he also favours a compromise candidate.

“Just go back to what the President said in his 90th birthday interview. What he said about Mujuru and Mnangagwa is very relevant and he should be taken seriously,” said a Zanu PF official.

In an interview to mark his birthday, Mugabe blasted Mujuru and Mnangagwa for dividing the party and said the two should be ashamed of their actions. He also blasted senior party officials for promoting regionalism and tribalism by imposing themselves as provincial godfathers ahead of the party’s provincial chairpersons.

Commenting on factional leaders Mugabe said it was “terrible even to have your name mentioned as leader of a faction. It is shameful”.

In April while addressing members of the Gushungo clan at Murombedzi Growth Point Mugabe again tore into Mujuru and Mnangagwa saying the two would not automatically take over from him, while also revealing he was not ready to relinquish the presidency.

“I am saying this because in many provinces we hear of divisions along factional lines. It is said Mai Mujuru and Minister Mnangagwa are aspiring for the presidency… people will choose whoever they want. It’s not only these two who can succeed me. The day I retire the people can choose any other leader they think is the best candidate.”

Mugabe also sent tongues wagging when he told Ghanaian-born British film-maker Roy Agyemang in a BBC documentary dubbed Robert Mugabe @ 90, that he had thought about potential successors although he had not made a choice and preferred to leave it to the people.

“I have people in mind who would want to be,” said Mugabe. “But I have looked at them. I have not come to any conclusion as to which one, really, should be. I leave it to the choice of the people.”

Succession fights have been a feature of Zanu PF for a long time although the battles have intensified over the years as Mugabe grows older. At 90 he is Africa’s oldest executive President.

Factional fights manifested themselves in the party’s primary elections and provincial elections last year and the ongoing batle to control the Information ministry, which members of the Mujuru faction believe Information minister Jonathan Moyo has been using to destroy the party from within.

8 Responses to Army backs Sekeramayi to succeed Mugabe

  1. The Patriot June 20, 2014 at 12:04 pm #

    Unum could this be after sacrificing your own. All the same a great candidate.

    • BeckyDMichael June 22, 2014 at 8:02 pm #

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  2. Sam Shumba June 20, 2014 at 4:02 pm #

    The reality is that unless ZANU-PF changes course in mattes of corruption and cronyism ,vey little change will come . Sekeramai may sound like a good candidate but the fact that he sat in cabinet and never lifted a finger duing Gukurahundi( when freedom fighters from ZAPU were being butchered) ,Murambatsvina (poor people ‘s homes being evicted), the Gono-enrichment-Operations and now the Salarygate makes him unsuitable for the post.

  3. Candid June 20, 2014 at 4:46 pm #

    Sekeremayi was not Security Minister between 194-1988. It was Mnangagwa then from 1980-1988. Sekeremayi canot control the party, He is too weak and shaloww for the dynamic Zanu Pf Politics. He will not pull the ropes. He does not have any clue of what this countries requires. His achievement in his career as a politician and one who was in struglle was to be a doctor for the comrades who had trained only for 2 years and knows only to administer morphine and nothing more- Some call him Morphine doctor. To me he is dull and cannot be a President for a country like Zimbabwe. and thats the truth whther it hurts or not.

  4. Malvin moyo June 21, 2014 at 10:20 am #

    No vacancy for presidency. Poor jounerlism you want to divide our party.

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  6. Musona June 25, 2014 at 2:19 pm #

    Discrimination being practised by a black government giving farms to those in the judiciary. Why give farms those in the judiciary only not others? So that thieves in ZanuPF can point at the Judges and say “But how can it be illegal when those in the judiciary also own stolen farms”. That is the strategy behind giving farms to those in the judiciary – to legalise thieving. This government would not do this if they knew they would be punished in an election. What nonsense to say those in the judiciary should be well remunerated! We all want to be remunerated. Are we not all human? In the past whites owned the land because they are the ones who had unique skills and money to do serious commercial farming. Our forefathers were taught how to harness oxen to do ploughing by these whites. Before that it was only the back-breaking hand-hoe ploughing which could hardly be called farming.
    It was our votes which put these bastards into power in 1980.

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