HARARE – The determined bids by MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa and some Zanu PF bigwigs to bring down President Emmerson Mnangagwa are now effectively dead in the water — after Zimbabwe’s former leader Robert Mugabe and veteran opposition kingpin Eddie Cross put paid to these quests this week.
Addressing mourners at his Blue Roof mansion in Harare, following the recent death of his wife Grace’s mother — Idah Marufu — a deliberate Mugabe urged Zimbabweans to wholly embrace Mnangagwa as the country’s undisputed new leader.
“There was an election. Zanu PF was represented by Emmerson Mnangagwa and (Nelson) Chamisa represented MDC Alliance and results came out saying the person who won was Emmerson Mnangagwa, and I said zvava mugwara zvino (everything is now in order).
“We have accepted the result and we hope that we will continue respecting the will of the people. The gun does not and should not lead politics,” he said — sealing Mnangagwa’s leadership of the country.
Until his successor’s inauguration last month, Mugabe had done all in his power to derail Mnangagwa and the ruling Zanu PF, including urging Zimbabweans to vote for Chamisa in last month’s hotly-disputed presidential poll.
Speaking at the same memorial service on Thursday, Grace — who had been in Singapore receiving treatment when her mother died, prompting Mnangagwa to scramble to find funds to charter a plane to bring her home for the burial — also praised the new Zanu PF leader for showing “love” towards the former first family.
“VaMnangagwa comforted me. If it takes my mother’s death for us to restore our old friendship, then let it be.
“VaMnangagwa loves us. He knows we love him too. We pray for him because it is God’s will that he is president of the country,” she said.
Meanwhile, and writing in his latest instalment of his keenly-followed blog on national politics, Cross challenged his party boss Chamisa to accept Mnangagwa as the
leader of the country.
“Firstly, we have held another election, it was more open, democratic and acceptable than any other election I can recall, and I have been a player in all of them since 1980.
“When you appreciate that the MDC Alliance won only 570 councillor seats out of nearly 2 000 (28,6 percent), you can understand why I think the MDC Alliance claim of a presidential victory with 2,6 million votes is most unlikely and not credible.
“Not one of these council elections have been challenged — and how can they? … That is why the Constitutional Court unanimously decided that Emmerson Mnangagwa was elected as president.
“It must also be understood that he (Mnangagwa) beat Nelson Chamisa by over 300 000 votes — nearly the same majority that Morgan Tsvangirai beat … Mugabe in 2002,” Cross wrote.
“Secondly, it is now clear that the international community has accepted the above outcome … Theresa May’s comments in South Africa that Emmerson Mnangagwa was elected as president and then the German minister of Development Cooperation announcing that their government was again open for business with Zimbabwe, sealed the issue.
“Thirdly, the new president, for the first time, is asking the whole country for help to secure the future and he has extended the hand of reconciliation to the opposition.
“I am deeply disappointed that the MDC Alliance seems to have turned its back on these initiatives and instead have continued to make the assertion that this was a ‘stolen’ election and that Chamisa is the legitimate president.
“Not only is this futile, but it also threatens further violence and instability when what we really need is national unity and an agreement to put our differences aside in a concerted effort to deal with the tough issues that confront us in the next five years,” Cross added.
Analysts who spoke to the Daily News yesterday said Mugabe’s, Grace’s and Cross’ sentiments were very significant as they all had the net effect of “sealing” Mnangagwa’s victory in last month’s presidential election.
At the same time, the analysts said, this also meant that Mnangagwa’s Zanu PF rivals who were still hopeful of either derailing or succeeding him for any number of reasons had now had their hopes dashed.
“Part of Mnangagwa’s political headache has been cured. All this strengthens his legitimacy. Regional leaders will now also respect him more.
“This also weakens Chamisa as Mugabe was one of Chamisa’s chief endorsers. Cross’s sentiments also further isolate Chamisa,” University of Zimbabwe political science lecturer Eldred Masunungure said. – Daily News