DISGRUNTLED members of the so-called 'Mazoe Crush Movement' have told Emmerson Mnangagwa that he is not President Robert Mugabe's "anointed" successor as the "alliance of convenience" between the two Zanu PF camps shows signs of unravelling.
Information minister Jonathan Moyo and Mugabe's nephew, Patrick Zhuwao, used the Sunday Mail to state that the veteran leader had not anointed a successor with the appointments of the new vice presidents.
Zhuwao ominously added that if Mnangagwa really meant to thank the president for his elevation, he should have held his celebration party in Zvimba instead of his Zvishavane rural home.
Moyo and Zhuwao were part of the Mazoe Crush movement which facilitated the ouster of former vice president Joice Mujuru, leading to the promotion of Mnangagwa.
One reading of their respective articles in the Mail, observers said Sunday, is that they could be trying to protect Mnangagwa from excitable praise-singers and patronage seekers who were already falling over each other to get into the presumptive successor's good graces.
The other reading, it was suggested, is that Moyo and Zhuwao were telling Mnangagwa that he is not, and must not, consider himself as the chosen one.
The vice president's allies were persuaded of the latter view because "some members of the Mazoe Crush group have cause to be bitterly disgruntled with the post-congress dispensation".
"As we indicated ahead of congress, the apparent alliance between the Mnangagwa faction and the Mazoe Crush group was one of convenience. What brought the two camps together was the need to deal with a mutual headache in Mujuru; beyond that there is no convergence of interests. And what has not helped the situation is the fact that some members of the Mazoe Crush group did not get the positions they wanted in the politburo and feel hard done by," said a pro-Mnangagwa insider.
The Mazoe Crush group coalesces around First Lady Grace Mugabe and represents the President's Gushungo clan which is scrambling to secure its material and political interests as age and poor health take their toll on the 90-year-old leader.
The group, with Grace at the forefront, prepared the ground for Mujuru's ouster by staging country-wide rallies where they accused the latter of all manner of perfidies including gross corruption, incompetence and plotting to illegally remove Mugabe from power.
In its campaign, the movement found a willing ally in Mnangagwa who took over from Mujuru's ouster, thereby apparently winning their lengthy and bitter fight to eventually succeed Mugabe.
But key members of the Mazoe Crush group are said to be disenchanted with post-congress developments after failing to secure what they considered just rewards for helping hound Mujuru out of office.
Politburo hopes dashed:
As she went about scandalising Mujuru, Grace Mugabe was supported by Oppah Muchinguri who stepped down as Women's League secretary to allow the First Lady to take over.
Muchinguri was led to believe she could expect to become the new Zanu PF secretary for administration, or higher. But she was named secretary for transport, a position that does not come with the same influence she had as Women's League boss where she had a clear constituency.
Zhuwao, a deputy secretary in the politburo prior to the congress, was dropped altogether in the new changes.
Regarding Moyo, who was appointed secretary for science and technology in the new politburo, the pro-Mnangagwa insider said: "Moyo did not benefit from the new era and, of course, he feels hard done by. He expected to be appointed the new secretary for information and publicity; but he was not because Mnangagwa does not trust him."
In their respective articles on Sunday, Moyo and Zhuwao moved to peg back the excitement and speculation over Mnangagwa as Zanu PF's next leader.
Explaining the underlying message in what he described as Moyo's "self-interview" for the Sunday Mail, a political analyst with close ties to Zanu PF said: "Moyo is effectively reminding Mnangagwa that he was 'appointed' and not 'elected'.
"As such, in the event that the appointer is no longer there, for whatever reason, the political legs on which Mnangagwa's appointment rest similarly disappear. The party will then call a special congress to elect a new leader and we will go to that congress, not as appointed vice presidents or politburo members, but as elected central committee members.
"And there are no senior central committee members, which means everyone will have an equal shot at the top job. That is the import of Moyo's message; he is saying Mnangagwa's succession chances are as good or as bad as those of any of the other central committee members."
Mnangagwa a 'sleek customer'
Asked why Moyo and other Mazoe Crush group were not particularly enthused about the idea of a Mnangagwa presidency, the Zanu PF insider said: "They think Mnangagwa is tainted by the troubles of the 1980s and suspicions he is as corrupt as Mujuru.
"For the Gushungo people, it unfortunately comes down to the problem of the so-called Super Zezurus wanting to maintain their stranglehold on power in the country post-Mugabe as well as their dislike for the Karangas. As for Moyo, well the professor does not see why he should not be considered a possible successor."
Probed on whether they were not concerned about the likes of Moyo and the Zezuru factor in the succession stakes, the pro-Mnangagwa insider said measures had been put in place for any contingencies.
"They (Mazoe Crush and Zezurus) need to know that they are dealing with a sleek customer (in Mnangagwa)," he said.
"Moyo, for all his undoubted effectiveness, has no influence in the party. His power derives from his control of the state media as information minister and that can be neutralised.
"Note that Lacoste (Mnangagwa) deployed his liberation struggle PA Monica Mutsvangwa at the information ministry as his Moyo's deputy; she has a watching brief. In addition, we can always check Moyo's excesses through the President's office and, failing that, a cabinet reshuffle is always another option."
Asked who the Mazoe Crush group wanted to take over after Mugabe, our source said: "They have the likes of Ignatius Chombo (new Zanu PF secretary for administration) but he would never win an election even in his own house.
"Ultimately for them however, it is not necessarily about retaining the presidency but ensuring their interests are protected, whoever comes in after Mugabe. Moyo is right in one sense though; Mnangagwa is in pole position but he does not quite have the succession in the bag yet.
"The person who will play a critical role when the party chooses a new leader is Saviour Kasukuwere because, as secretary for the commissariat, he will determine the composition of the electoral college. At the moment, he (Kasukuwere) appears to be in the Mnangagwa camp but that is for expediency; we are aware that he came over after falling out with the Mujuru family over a business deal. So the question is – can his loyalty be trusted?"