- Published: 09 December 2014
- Written by The Telescope
China's capital, Beijing, is not hiding its excitement about justice minister, Emmerson Mnangagwa's pending promotion to the office of first Vice President, and immediate likelihood of taking over power from President Robert Mugabe, The Telescope News, has gathered.
Mnangagwa could also soon taste the driver's seat, as Mugabe is believed to be considering to appoint his long time political ally and former personal assistant, as "acting" president for at least two months as he ventures for his annual Christmas holiday, with his young family in Asia before the end of the month.
Mugabe normally takes a long break, right through the end of January in the new year, before resurfacing in February, for his trademark birthday speech and celebrations on the 21st when he turns 91.
Government insiders say the "acting presidency" is calculated by the nonagenarian, to gauge Mnangagwa's acumen of statecraft.
The Telescope News, can also with fair authority reveal that despite Mugabe not naming his two new deputies in government at the just ended Zanu PF elective congress, Mnangagwa is already one leg into the influential position, with reported backing from the country's military top brass and hitherto the intelligence machinery, following presidential affairs minister, Didymus Mutasa's fall from favour with Mugabe.
Mutasa's ministry is the mother of the dreaded Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO), which is a special department of the President's Office. It emerged this week that Mnangagwa is now doubling as defacto intelligence minister, after personally taking over the security of Mugabe, in light of hard to believe reports about an assassination plot to take Mugabe's life, which has implicated ousted VP Joice Mujuru, Mutasa himself and expelled Zanu PF spokeman Rugare Gumbo. The trio have vehemently denied the assassination plot charges.
"We are aware that China has already congratulated Mr.Mnangagwa, and everything has gone according to their plan so far, since they are pushing for his ultimate takeover of power in Zimbabwe," said a reliable diplomat in Harare on Sunday.
"There is even speculation that Chinese leader Xi Jinping might make a state visit to Zimbabwe before the end of next year, which will be historic and a first of it's kind, also meant to endorse Mnangagwa."
China has reportedly offered to pour up to US$1billion, as a massive economic loan package to be unveiled should Mnangagwa assume the reigns of power.
Mugabe visited China in August this year, where he had flown to seek economic and investment opportunities for Harare's struggling economy, but Beijing insisted on Zimbabwe first servicing her outstanding debts, before China can make further foreign direct investments in the country.
Another senior Zanu PF official, who was recently voted into the central committee, after having been initially rebuffed for his alleged involvement in party factionalism, said Mnangagwa was as good as the next president.
"There are so many options for him to now succeed Mugabe," he said. "Even if he is not appointed as one of the two new vice presidents in government, Mnangagwa is definitely going to be the first second Zanu PF secretary at the party presidium level, which is the same as saying you are number two in charge in the country although not in government. At the appropriate time, Zanu PF will simply vote and recommend that he takes over altogether."
Some sections of online media, have been awash with claims that Mnangagwa had run out of luck at the eleventh hour, and that he might be sidelined from the new Zanu PF and government presidium appointments, a disclosure our sources dismissed as normal speculation, as Mugabe is keeping everyone guessing on whom he is likely to appoint to the crucial positions.
"Even Grace Mugabe is not aware of her husband's next move, that is what a dexterous politician does."
This publication, has also heard that Grace might be appointed into a new cabinet expected to be announced soon, since she already has a seat in the politburo as the Women's League boss.
Mugabe is expected to purge, at least nine ministers thought to belong to Mujuru's faction, including the ministers of foreign affairs, tourism and energy.