‘Mugabe succession battle turning into blood bath’ – Gumbo

Zimbabwe People First (ZPF) co-leader Rugare Gumbo has said his party will not join MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai’s mooted grand coalition

HARARE – Former Zanu-PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo said Moyo’s statements showed that the battle to succeed Mugabe was turning vicious.

Former Zanu-PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo

Moyo on Monday told BBC’s HARDtalk programme that Mnangwagwa was handpicked by Mugabe to merely assist the 91-year-old leader fulfil his mandate – not to succeed him.

“The utterances show infighting and contradictions within that party. It shows that there is no clear plan of succession,” said Gumbo, who calls himself spokesperson of the “genuine and original” Zanu-PF.

“All we want is a guaranteed smooth transition and if what is happening in Zanu-PF is anything to go by, we are heading for something else, which I and others were kicked out for. We wanted to ensure stability and continuity in the party. Vultures and people with no history thought otherwise.”

Gumbo’s assertion was backed by political analysts who said Mugabe’s succession was threatening to end badly.

“It will be a nasty period and that is why those who are strategically poised to succeed him are busy strategising for nomination when the time comes,” said University of Zimbabwe political science lecturer Eldred Masunungure. “This is way the struggles are vicious both in the public and private arena.”

Academic Ibbo Mandaza said Zanu-PF was at war and Moyo was just parading the internal situation where infighting is incurable.
“Zanu-PF as a party is now at war with each other and that is what Professor Moyo was just telling the world,” he said.

“It shows that someone outside Mnangagwa is eyeing Mugabe’s post, but in politics it’s normal.

“It’s going to be a game of who has the muscle and best strategy.”

Mandaza said Moyo’s statements that Mnangwagwa was not guaranteed of succeeding Mugabe were not new, but could be an indication something was brewing.

“It’s significant what he said. He is just repeating what he has said before and if among them someone can say that, it shows something is happening,” he said.

“But I don’t know if it means Mnangagwa will not take over – that is too early to read or analyse.”

Political analyst Alexandra Rusero said Moyo’s statements were a reflection of Mugabe’s thinking that “being a Vice-President is another thing and being a successor is totally different”.

“Moyo is just spelling out what Mugabe might be thinking and making those views public for all to know,” Rusero said.

“It is very simple: What the President is communicating is that you can be a Vice-President and still not be a successor. Look at Mujuru and how she lost it at the 11th hour. So it’s not yet clear on who will take over from the old man. If you don’t take what Moyo said seriously, you are doing yourself a disservice.”

Mugabe has refused to publicly anoint a successor leading to speculation that he wants his wife to take over. The First Lady has since taken a backseat after her stormy entry into politics last year.

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