In the most clearest of signs yet, that justice minister Emmerson Mnangagwa, is all but about to take over power as the next Zimbabwean Head of State, President Robert Mugabe is reported to have discussed the succession hand over, with Chinese leader Xi Jinping during his recent visit to Beijing last month, The Telescope News reported.
According to a presidential party delegate who travelled with Mugabe, the explosive Zanu PF succession issue was high on the agenda, when Mugabe met Jinping for a closed door evening meeting, a day after he arrived in China, which was not disclosed to both Zimbabwean and Chinese media.
Disclosures of the alleged secret meeting between the two leaders, is coming on the backcloth of reports that China has "demanded clarity" on the sensative matter, and has stepped up financial and political support for their desired candidate, Mnangagwa, who received part of his military training in China during the 60s, as the Asian powerhouse angles to secure her wide economic interests in Harare through a trusted politician with close links to Beijing.
China has become the first foreign power, to be openly involved in Mugabe's succession matrix, albeit in a very covert manner. As first reported by this publication on 25 June 2014, Beijing has reportedly set aside a whopping US$1 billion loan facility, for the economic resuscitation of Zimbabwe, under a Mnangagwa presidency should it materialise.
"All I can tell your newspaper is that, the Mnangagwa story is a done deal," said one of the officials travelling with Mugabe's bloated delegation last month. "I can confirm that the President (Mugabe) met with Mr Xi Jinping for a private meeting, behind closed doors to discuss the issue, and in as much as it is undesirable by some, Mnangagwa is China's own compromise candidate for the job. Most of the economic deals and projects signed during the State visit, can only be implemented in the coming 2-5 years, which means a Zanu PF leader with proximity to China must be in power."
"Mnangagwa has been cunning in his maneuver for the top job. The man managed to make many solid gains in luring Chinese support during the days of the Inclusive government, when he was defence minister. Very few people are also aware that finance minister, Patrick Chinamasa, is an ally of his camp, and has been warming up to a possible foreign affairs ministerial post, for his efforts in promoting their faction with China using his current government brief. Mugabe we are told was not plain-spoken during the evening meeting, but Mnangagwa received positive appraisal. What will even stun Zimbabweans, including myself is learning that Mnangagwa is also the brains behind Mugabe's 'Look East' policy, which is bent on pegging economic progress and ties with the Asian nation."
Zimbabwe officially declared a Look East policy in 2003, which initially called for closer ties with Malaysia, but primary focus was later shifted to China. During the time Mnangagwa was Speaker of Parliament, and is believed to have been among Zanu PF think-tanks, who based on intelligence assessments had to find a way to counter Western sanctions imposed on their confederacy, including the top brass of the security services.
The Telescope News, also has it on good account that apart from China, Mnangagwa has allegedly drummed up support for his power bid with/and has the endorsement of Iran, Israel, and the United Arab Emirates.
Iran's deputy foreign minister for Arab and African Affairs Hossein Amir Abdollahian, was in the country last week, and stressed the need for Tehran and Harare to implement a sheaf of past agreements signed earlier by the two sides. Mnangagwa was in Tehran during his spell as defence minister, where he signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the expansion of joint defense cooperation with Iran in 2012. The MoU was also signed by Iran’s Defense Minister Brigadier General Ahmad Vahidi, who vowed to help Zimbabwe fend off military aggression from the West.
Iran has indicated a huge interest in mining the country's virgin Uranium deposits in Kanyemba, in return for supplying Harare with fuel and setting up a helicopter base.
Israel comes into play, through the strong working links which one of her companies, Nikuv International Projects (NIP), enjoys with Zanu PF. The company is thought to have been directly contracted by Mnangagwa, who has been Zanu PF and Mugabe's election campaign manager to draw up a controversial voters roll last year, which was dismissed as suspect, and that it was used to gerrymander voting in favour of Zanu PF political constituencies, resulting in a rigged election outcome according to the opposition.
Vice President, Joice Mujuru, who is now certain to square off with Mnangagwa for the VP post, at the volatile Zanu PF elective congress in December, is not entirely out of the race to succeed Mugabe.
Although her faction has been dealt a severe political blow, by the passing away of her influential husband General Solomon Mujuru, in a mysterious farmhouse inferno in August 2011, her rivals accuse her of having the closet support of America, Britain, and Spain.
Senior cadres in the party who are said to be close to the military or military faction of Zanu PF, made up of retired and some serving military and intelligence officers, are alleging that Mujuru has relations and sympathy of Washington and London's intelligence organisations, namely the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and Military Intelligence Section 6 (MI6) respectively.
Mujuru is considered to be a moderate politician inside Zanu PF, and business friendly by the international community at large. Observers say a reformed Zanu PF, can be best led by Mujuru as opposed to Mnangagwa, who is loathed for being a hardline with a controversial political past.
The President's Office did not pick calls last Friday, to confirm the new succession developments. However one staffer who declined to identify herself yesterday said: "It is not the business of journalists to probe, the Presidential party, when travelling abroad. It is a matter of national security."
Mugabe's succession race, is anticipated to brew bloodbaths and untold pandemonium to Zanu PF structures, which are already teetering of the brink of total collapse, spelling doom for the party should the affair take a messy political face.
Both Mujuru and Mnangagwa have denied habouring any presidential ambitions, accusing the media of creating stories.
Mnangagwa's mobile numbers were all unreachable last night.