- Published on 19 September 2014
- Written by The Zimbabwean
Emmerson Mnangagwa has devised a strategy to assume the presidency from President Robert Mugabe by February next year, senior intelligence sources have revealed.
Mnangagwa and his inner circle of strategists were working on the assumption that he would push out vice President Joice Mujuru, his bitter succession rival, at the Zanu (PF) congress in December, Central Intellingence Organisation (CIO) sources privy to the plot told The Zimbabwean.
"The basic strategy is to ensure that Mujuru is removed from her position as First Vice President and replaced by Mnangagwa. Even though he has not made his plan known publicly, Mnangagwa will compete for one of the two VP (vice president's) posts. He seems convinced that he will succeed in that regard," said one of the CIO operatives.
Even though Mugabe earlier this year hinted that neither of the two competitors was guaranteed to succeed him, the sources said Mnangagwa felt his chances to beat Mujuru to the presidency were bolstered by Grace Mugabe's recent entry into mainstream Zanu (PF) politics.
Grace is set to become the boss of the powerful Women's League after being endorsed by key party organs and affiliated institutions such as the traditional leadership. Her elevation has been attributed to manouevres by the Mnangagwa faction.
The highly placed source said Mugabe seemed to be increasingly inclined towards the Mnangagwa camp as the succession battle intensifies. "While chances of Mnangagwa to win still seem slim, there is always room for a surprise, especially if the First Lady manages to persuade HE to back him instead of Mai Mujuru. In any case, there is no love lost between Mai Mujuru and the First Lady," he added.
The source speculated that the other VP post would go to a candidate from the former (PF) Zapu where Kembo Mohadi has already thrown his hat into the ring -even though some insist that current national chairman Simon Khaya Moyo must take the post.
Another intelligence source said Mnangagwa was working closely with Saviour Kasukuwere on the strategy. If Mnangagwa beats Mujuru, said the contact, he would then persuade Grace to talk her husband into handing over the presidency by February 2015.
"If all goes according to their plan, HE will announce his retirement as the Head of State at his birthday next year. This would clear the way for Mnangagwa to take over from him as the immediate deputy. That would be a way of thanking the faction for facilitating Grace's entrance into the Zanu (PF) power centre," he added.
Mugabe would remain in charge of the party, though, until the next congress in 2019, health permitting. Grace would get a stronger position and an influential ministry as part of the strategy.
"At the 2019 congress, Mnangagwa would then become the President and First Secretary of the party. He hopes that would give him the space to determine the composition of the party thereafter," he said.
Mnangagwa and Kasukuwere, added the source, plan to change the party constitution to do away with the second vice presidency as a way of solidifying their power.
As part of the grand plan, Mnangagwa would reportedly rule up to 2023 and then hand over the reins to Kasukuwere, assuming Zanu (PF) remains in power.
"Whether that will succeed or not, it is the plan these guys are working with," said the second source. The media-shy Mnangagwa was not picking up his phone despite several attempts, while Kasukuwere was not reachable for comment.
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