- Published on 10 December 2014
- Written by Staff Reporter
President Robert Mugabe has just announced the appointments of Justice Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa and former Zimbabwean ambassador to South Africa Phelekezela Mphoko as second secretaries and vice presidents of the ruling ZANU-PF party.
The two take over from Joice Mujuru, who was fired on Tuesday by President Robert Mugabe for "her conduct in the discharge of her duties" which had "become inconsistent with her official responsibilities", according to a government statement.
Mugabe also fired eight cabinet ministers believed to be Mujuru supporters for "conduct and performance below the expected standard". They are expected to be sworn in on Friday.
Mujuru has been accused of wanting to kill and topple Mugabe. She has denied the allegations, and says she has not yet decided on her next move. She maintains she is still a member of Zanu PF, the only party she knows.
President Mugabe emphasised that his deputies would have no functions but to take orders from him. He gave them strict rules of not making any personal decisions but only to do what he (Mugabe) would have told them to do, in a bid to avoid making the same "Mujuru blunder".
"It should be noted that the deputies will have no functions. They will only receive instructions from me. So, these two and me are the ones that will be known as the presidium," said Mugabe.
He said Mnangagwa and Mphoko will also become the new national deputies and they will be sworn in on Friday.
Mnangagwa, who is also known as 'crocodile' or 'ngwena' has been waiting patiently for this day since 2004 when he was bulldozed by Joice Mujuru and her late husband Retired Army General Solomon Mujuru. Mnangagwa was then the secretary of administration in the Zanu PF but the then kingmaker Solomon Mujuru is said to have lured President Mugabe to appoint his (Mujuru's) wife as the New Vice President following the death of Vice President Simon Muzenda.
Cde Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa (born 15 September 1946) has served in the government of Zimbabwe as Minister of Justice last year. He was previously Minister of State Security from 1980 to 1988, Minister of Justice from 1988 to 2000, Speaker of Parliament from 2000 to 2005. Following the appointment of Joice Mujur as Vice President in 2004, Mnangagwa was literally demoted both from the part and the government when he was appointed minister of Rural Housing from 2005 to 2009.
Mnangwagwa is also one of the few remaining comrades who attended the historic Lancaster House Conference in January 1980 which marked the end of the colonial era. Neither his Predecessor Joice Mujuru nor Mujuru's late husband Solomon Mujuru went to London to attend the once-in-a-life-time event.
Mnangagwa, who spent a strong 10-year stint in prison after be took part in blowing a train in Masvingo, was sentenced to death during the Smith regime, but his ancestors fought for him as the capital punishment was waived. This is probably the reason why he has always vowed that as long as he is the minister of Justice he will never authorise any execution of inmates who are on death-row.
The second Vice President, who is not as popular as his counterpart Mnangagwa is Phelekezela Mphoko. He is a Zimbabwean politician, diplomat and former military commander who has been Zimbabwe's Ambassador to South Africa since 2011.
Mphoko was the ZIPRA commander in charge of logistics during the Chimurenga war. Just before we obtained our independence, the decorated ex-army commander was appointed as Zimbabwe African People's Union's Representative to Mozambique. He met and worked with Joe Modise, Jacob Zuma and other top African National Congress brass. He has also served as Zimbabwe's Ambassador to Botswana and Russia before being transferred to Pretoria as Ambassador to South Africa.He was also part of the five man Zipa Command that was a joint operation between Zanla and Zipra.
Had the Zanu PF constitution not been amended last week, Mphoko was most likely never going to be the Vice President because of the consequence of many years that he spent in intelligence and diplomatic circles outside the country. That prevented him from creating a solid support base in the party structures that would have made other people like Simon Khaya Moyo better candidates for the much-lucrative post.
There were also reports that Mphoko does not even belong to a cell or ward in the party.
"He does not even belong to a cell or ward in the party. It would have been difficult for him to compete against Khaya Moyo who has already been in the presidium and served in different cabinet portfolios until his deployment to South Africa in 2000. Even then, he (Khaya Moyo) remained in the politburo coming home regularly to attend its sessions," said a source.
My Zimbabwe news had to scavenge for as much information as possible regarding Mphoko because nothing much is known about his except that he is a keen photographer and a former Zipra commander who once caused a stir while posted to Botswana when he claimed, without elaborating, that the Gukurahundi atrocities were a 'Western conspiracy' . - My Zimbabwe News