Political analyst Ibbo Mandaza says President Emmerson Mnangagwa is fighting for his political life ahead of a ZANU PF congress set for October this year.
Mandaza believes the 79-year-old ZANU PF leader ould be ousted through “political manoeuvring” rather than a military coup.
This follows claims by former ZANU PF youth league leaders Godfrey Tsenengamu and Jim Kunaka that Mnangagwa reneged on a power transfer deal with vice president Constantino Chiwenga who led the 2017 military coup that ousted Mnangagwa’s predecessor, Robert Mugabe.
After leading the 2017 coup as Zimbabwe Defence Forces commander, Chiwenga reportedly made a “gentleman’s agreement” with Mnangagwa that the latter would serve just one term and hand over power to him.
The SAPES Trust director is not sure if Mnangagwa will be ZANU PF’s candidate in the general elections due in the second half of 2023. Said Mandaza:
The utterances by Kunaka and Tsenengamu are yet another indication that all is not well in ZANU PF, that the factionalism is building to a climax ahead of the purported congress and above all that Mnangagwa’s political survival hangs in the balance.
But I rule out another coup; these appear to be political plots to outmanoeuvre Mnangagwa and force him to relent without a fight.
Mandaza said if Mnangagwa remains ZANU PF leader post-congress, Chiwenga loyalists may not help his campaign but give their votes to main opposition leader Nelson Chamisa. He said:
The bhora musango scenario appears more threatening than it did in 2008 (when Mugabe lost in the first round to opposition challenger Morgan Tsvangirai).
But that’s assuming Mnangagwa is a contender in 2023. I think it’s his (Chamisa’s) to lose, the presidential race in 2023, as things stand; but only through a broad alliance can the Citizens Coalition for Change garner a parliamentary majority.
And even after that, it would be advisable in my view to include selected ZANU PF stalwarts in the name of reconciliation and nation-building, especially after this bruising period of the last two decades that has left the country broken and divided.
Observations in some circles suggest Chamisa will need [self-exiled former ZANU PF political commissar Saviour] Kasukuwere in that broad alliance, but the selection I’m talking about should not be confined to key ZANU PF stalwarts who will have acquitted themselves in the parliamentary elections, but also Zimbabweans in the diaspora and in all cases taking cognisance of regional, ethnic representation and meritocracy.
Bhora Musango, a Shona language phrase which literally means “to deliberately kick the ball off the pitch, instead of scoring it”, was a clandestine campaign by some Zanu-PF leaders in the run-up to the 2008 harmonised elections against voting for the party’s presidential candidate leader Robert Mugabe.