Zimbabwe: ZANU-PF Succession War

  • G40 Settles for Sekeramayi

Has Outspoken Minister Moyo Revealed Mugabe’s Ideal Successor?

The topic of President Robert Mugabe’s succession is now spreading even within the ruling Zanu-PF party, where discussing the nonagenarian ruler’s departure was akin to treason. In a new twist in the protracted succession battle, Higher and Tertiary Education Minister Jonathan Moyo has endorsed Defence Minister Sydney Sekeramayi to succeed Mugabe ahead of Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

A Zanu-PF faction tussling for party control with Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s camp appears to have settled for Defence Minister Sydney Sekeramayi as its figurehead as the succession fight continues.

Politburo member and G40 thinker and strategist Professor Jonathan Moyo let the cat out of the bag Thursday when he heaped glowing praises on Sekeramayi while chastising Mnangagwa and his Team Lacoste faction for alleged attempts to monopolise Zanu PF and the nationalist project.

War veterans and other surrogates have since declared that Mnangagwa is the natural successor to the 93-year-old President Mugabe because he is now the second most senior party politician after the veteran leader.

But Moyo suggested that Mnangagwa, who has also touted his decades-long lieutenant-ship to Mugabe, would come to grief in his bid to take over.

“The position is that there is no vacancy in the office of the president, in the party or in the government,” Moyo said.

“The notion peddled by the so-called Team Lacoste that its leader is the only one who is above or senior to everyone else below President Mugabe is false … and that falsehood should now be engaged and stated.”

Moyo was speaking at a policy dialogue forum hosted by Dr Ibbo Mandaza’s SAPES Trust in Harare. The elite discussion forum is often patronised by western diplomats and members of the intelligentsia.

And among some of the most conspicuous figures who formed the eminent gallery Thursday were Zanu PF political commissar Saviour Kasukuwere, President Robert Mugabe’s nephew Patrick Zhuwao and Zanu PF chair for Mashonaland Central Dickson Mafios. Together with Moyo; they have all been linked to G40.

While Team Lacoste is clear about its preferred choice for successor, G40 has, until quite recently, not pronounced itself on the matter despite appearing to root for the First Lady Grace Mugabe to succeed her husband.

But the controversial and scandal-prone First Lady is a problematic sell to voters who might be put-off by her excesses which include the recent splashing $1.3 million on a diamond ring and the alleged illegal invasion of the dealer’s homes in Harare.

Kasukuwere, the other G40 kingpin, has also been hugely diminished by a recent campaign which saw most of the Zanu PF provincial structures slap him with no confidence votes.

However, going by Moyo’s remarks Thursday, G40 has possible opted for Sekeramayi in what should bring another interesting episode to Zanu PF’s internecine succession wars.

“There are others that are senior to the leader of the so-called Team Lacoste in the party,” Moyo said.

“One of them and I give this by way of an example, but an important example in my view is Dr Sydney Sekeramayi. He is senior and this example is an interesting one because Dr Sekeramayi’s loyalty to President Mugabe, to the party, to the country is beyond question …

“… and so are his liberation credentials, beyond question; so is his political experience, beyond question; so is his conscientious style of leadership, quite engaging; so is his stature, unquestionable; so is his commitment to the nationalist project and above all in my estimation, his humility.”

Moyo continued: “He is not arrogant, he does not say chinhu chedu ichi (the party is ours), he is accommodating.

“He is a true nationalist in the grain we have seen them from the tradition of President Mugabe, the late Vice President Nkomo, the late vice president Simon Muzenda, the late Vice President Joseph Msika, the late Vice President John Nkomo, you don’t say akabva nekupi uyu (where did he come from). You can tell through the engagement, grounded!

“I am challenging the notion that below the President, there is only one leader who is senior. I am saying that’s not true and I am challenging the historians to dig up the evidence if they think I am not telling the truth.

“What is true is that because of his humility, Dr Sekeramayi’s story is not well known but once you get to know it, encounter it, it’s infectious.

“Even Vice President Mphoko is actually senior, but you won’t know if you live in a society that doesn’t value information which is driven by propaganda.”

It however, remains to be seen if Sekeramayi, long taunted as a succession dark horse, would accept the open invitation; or perhaps he was already part of the scheme.