WITH each passing week after the Zanu PF congress, it is increasingly clear cracks are developing and widening within the broad anti-Joice Mujuru alliance of Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa and President Robert Mugabe’s wife, Grace, as the First Lady’s key allies publicly express discontent about the new arrangement in which they feel they got a raw deal in the sharing of spoils.
Politburo members Jonathan Moyo, Patrick Zhuwao, Saviour Kasukuwere and Oppah Muchinguri are reportedly unhappy with the outcome which has seen the centre of power shifting from fired vice-president Mujuru to Mnangagwa, and not Mugabe as they had planned.
Mnangagwa raised tensions after he overlooked the so-called “gang of four” when he sent out invites to the bash in Zvishavane two weeks ago to celebrate his appointment to the vice-presidency, and other parties which had been lined up for Kwekwe and Zvimba.
A close Mnangagwa ally said this week: “The gang of four is unhappy with the shift of power to Mnangagwa, hence the attacks directed at him which we have seen in the state media of late. They are also angered by their failure to make the celebrations’ guest list.
“It is not a coincidence that two articles appeared in the Sunday Mail this week with the same message. It is clear that it was something planned. You can see that there is a problem and the alliance is coming apart.
“We wonder why they are panicking and what has compelled them to comment on the succession issue. We also wonder what their real agenda is.”
In an interview with a state weekly, Moyo said Mnangagwa’s rise to the vice-presidency did not mean that he would automatically take over from Mugabe when the 90-year old leaves office.
Moyo said both the Zanu PF and country’s constitutions did not prescribe that Mugabe should select his successor, an argument that was supported by Zhuwao in his weekly column published in the same issue.
“It would be unconstitutional and indeed undemocratic for the president to do that (select his successor). As such, those who want the president to designate a successor are either charlatans or enemies of constitutionalism and democracy,” Moyo said.
“And in the case of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, the current succession provision does not allow for automatic elevation, but requires the political party of the previous incumbent to nominate the successor in accordance with its internal constitutional procedures, and the Zanu PF constitutional procedure provides for the convening of an extraordinary congress to elect a successor should that be necessary.”
Concurring with Moyo, Zhuwao described as “mischievous” assertions that Mnangagwa would automatically take over from Mugabe by virtue of being a VP.
“The appointments are not about succession, nor are the appointments about succession’s toxic cousin, factionalism,” he said.
“Zanu PF’s congress decisively dealt with factionalism and such divisive tendencies in a systematic and institutional manner by resolving to institutionalise a single source of power through amendments to the constitution.
“Zanu PF must never allow the re-emergence of alternative centres of power.”
Party insiders said this week mutual suspicion and tension were rapidly breeding in the alliance.
“Jonathan Moyo is not happy with the position he got in the politburo and Zhuwao and Muchinguri are so disappointed after all the running around they did for the Mnangagwa-Grace alliance,” said a politburo member.
“In fact, the tensions are beginning to play out in the public media as shown by attacks on (politburo member Josiah) Hungwe and the two articles attacking Mnangagwa at the weekend in the state media, which was used to mutilate Mujuru.”
Hungwe likened Mnangagwa to “Son of Man”, a biblical reference to Jesus Christ.
“The Mnangagwa faction is not happy with the attacks and it is clear that they are an indirect attack on the VP. They are now accusing Mnangagwa, as they did Mujuru, of creating another centre of power.”
The gang of four is also unhappy with the blocking of people perceived to be enemies from accessing Mnangagwa.
The barred included Mines deputy minister Fred Moyo, Zimbabwe’s Ambassador to South Africa Isaac Moyo, Industry deputy minister Chiratidzo Mabuwa and Mberengwa North MP Tafanana Zhou.