Can Mugabe afford to go for broke and expel Mnangagwa

In Lenin’s Russia towards his end days, five potential successors emerged out of the ensuing power struggle. Trotsky. Zinoviev, Bukharin, Kamenev and Stalin. Stalin was not Lenin’s favourite. In fact, before his death Lenin had written that Stalin was an arrogant and overly ambitious character and wanted him removed from his position as General Secretary. He at the same time named Trotsky as the most suitable successor. He was the head of the Red Army and held considerable state power over the other candidates. It is power the he took for granted and failed to use it. Stalin on the other hand enjoyed the support of the youth in the Bolshevik party. Despite the might wielded. By the State through Trotsky, Stalin succeeded Lenin.

By Lloyd Msipa

Robert Mugabe, has made it abundantly clear that he does not want Emmerson Mnangagwa to succeed him. He together with his wife, Grace Mugabe have used every opportune public platform to speak about his “unsuitability” as president of Zimbabwe. He has been labelled a philandering, corrupt and overly ambitious character. Despite all this, the man chose to remain quiet and bide his time. Zimbabweans read the silence to mean different things, with some calling him a coward, I believe that there was and is method in the madness.

You see, unlike Joyce Mujuru who was kicked out of the party before him, his connection to Zanu PF is deeper rooted. Joyce Mujuru’s connection to Zanu PF was largely based on her husband hold over the generals and hence by default over Mugabe. Mugabe would not have tempered with Joyce when Solomon Mujuru’s was still alive. It was simply not a possibility. Upon his death, Joyce was exposed, bumping her off was easy. She was a nobody. Her surety in Zanu was her husband Solomon Mujuru. He was the power broker, he held sway over the provinces and was instrumental in getting Mugabe to power.

Emmerson Mnangagwa represents a brand unto himself. He is Zanu PF and Zanu PF is in him. His roots go deeper into the revolutionary party and hence attempts to uproot him will not be without consequence. Mugabe and Mnangagwa go back a long way. Whilst Mugabe is at liberty to mention Mnangagwa skeletons at a public rally, it does not mean Mnangagwa does not have a thing or two to say about Mugabe’s skeletons.

Mnangagwa utterances at the memorial service of Shuvai Mahofa in Gutu last week marks the beginning of a fight back, remember, I did say elsewhere that Mnangagwa has deep roots in Zanu PF and his going or possible expulsion will not be without consequence for the revolutionary party. Mnangagwa represents the last few revolutionaries who worked with Mugabe when he was still a nobody. He has been deeply loyal to him, Mugabe and Mnangagwa have always had a love and hate relationship. Mugabe demoted Mnangagwa to a housing ministry to allow for the elevation of Joyce Mujuru to the position of the vice presidency at the behest of Solomon Mujuru. It is instructive to note that Mnangagwa has been the accepted Mugabe successor within the rank and file of Zanu PF going back as far as 2000. Mnangagwa enjoys support from the army and war veterans, these are and remain the king makers in Zimbabwe. Mugabe knows this, he would on occasion warm up to this and acceptance exhibited by him from time to time. When Mnangagwa lost his seat to Blessing Chebundo of the opposition party MDC, Mugabe rescued him and appointed him speaker of parliament. When Mugabe lost to Morgan Tsvangirai in 2008 and was on the verge of giving his acceptance speech, it was Emmerson Mnangangwa who rescued him. It is instructive to note that most of his “trusted” colleagues like Nicolas Goche and Dydmus Mutasa had run for cover.

In recent months, we have seen a toxic Mugabe, influenced by both age and an overly ambitious young wife. He is being told damp Emmerson Mnangagwa. He knows, it will not be easy. In the absence of a Mnangagwa death, Mugabe will not succeed in expelling Mnangagwa without disrupting the rank and file of Zanu PF. Mnangagwa roots go too deep. Over the weekend we listened to an emboldened Mnangagwa encircled by his own in Midlands and Masvingo speak. Mugabe knows that without these two provinces, he will not win the 2018 elections. This is his dilemma. The two provinces have encircled to protect their own. If Mugabe goes for broke and expels Mnangagwa, the resultant fall out in the army, the intelligence services and war veterans will be catastrophic No unity will be possible before the 2018 elections. In as much Lenin wished Trotsky to succeed him, it was his wish. What we wish for and what happens are two different things. Mnangangwa’s expulsion however orchestrated amounts to Mugabe writing the epitaph to the revolutionary party, simple as. –