Chiwenga touted as Mnangagwa’s successor

VP Constantine Chiwenga
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HARARE, — A faction of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA) has endorsed Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga as their preferred successor to President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

This development comes amid increasing maneuverings within Zanu-PF as various factions vie for control, eyeing the eventual succession of the 81-year-old leader.

The government recently acknowledged the splintering of the ZNLWVA into several factions due to growing divisions among the former fighters over Mnangagwa’s performance since he assumed power from Robert Mugabe in a coup seven years ago. While Mnangagwa’s term is set to end in 2028, a campaign within Zanu-PF aims to extend his tenure, whereas another faction is advocating for Chiwenga to take over.

Andreas Ethan Mathibela, leader of the increasingly vocal ZNLWVA faction supporting Chiwenga, expressed shock at recent comments made by Mnangagwa’s biographer Eddie Cross, who asserted that Chiwenga would never rule Zimbabwe. Mathibela criticized Cross, an ex-Rhodesian, for making such declarations, arguing that he lacks the authority and standing within the ruling party to comment on succession matters.

Mathibela underscored Chiwenga’s “unquestionable record” in the liberation war, arguing that this makes him a strong candidate for leadership. He praised Chiwenga’s discipline and capability, highlighting his decorated military background as essential for addressing the country’s economic and political challenges.

Mathibela also defended Chiwenga’s integrity, emphasizing that he has a clean political record and has not been involved in any criminal or corrupt activities.

In contrast, another ZNLWVA faction is led by Zanu-PF spokesperson Chris Mutsvangwa, who played a critical role in the coup that ousted Mugabe. Mutsvangwa and Chiwenga are reported to be rivals in the ongoing battle to succeed Mnangagwa, highlighting the deepening divisions within the party.

The factional infighting within Zanu-PF reflects the high stakes and intense competition for leadership, as various groups position themselves for influence and control in the post-Mnangagwa era. The outcome of this struggle will likely shape the future direction of Zimbabwe’s political landscape.