“I need to convey a message to you all in relation to the termination of employment of Vice President Mnangagwa. His excellence the President Robert Mugabe has exercised his powers to relieve Vice President Mnangagwa of his position as Vice President with immediate effect,” Moyo said.
Mnangagwa has been accused of fanning factionalism in Zanu-PF and plotting to overthrow the 93-year-old ruling party leader. Speaking to scores of apostolic sect members yesterday at a Super Sunday rally, First Lady Grace Mugabe hinted that Mnangagwa could be fired before the special Zanu-PF Congress slated for December.
“It had become evident that his conduct in the discharge of his duties had become inconsistent with his official responsibilities. The Vice President has had consistently and persistently exhibited traits of disloyalty, disrespect, deceitfulness and unreliability,” Moyo explained, further citing that Mnangagwa has demonstrated little probity in the execution of his duties.
This has not come as a surprise. Over the weekend, during the Youth Interface Rally, which took place in the second largest city, Bulawayo, Robert Mugabe lashed out at the former Vice President after youths attending the rally booed the First Lady Grace Mugabe.
The behaviour angered Mugabe, who told Mnangagwa to go and form his own political party together with his supporters.
“Some people have arranged to send persons to boo my wife, the first lady tells the truth and we can’t continue to remain silent. What sin did I commit to appoint Mnangagwa as my Vice President? If I committed a sin I can fire him, even tomorrow. If he wants to start his own party let him do so with his supporters,” said Mugabe in his speech at the rally.
It is yet to be seen whether Mnangagwa will form his political party, as advised by Mugabe, but political analyst Ibbo Mandaza has different views. Mandaza said that Mnangagwa does not have the requisite social base to form a party.
“He is almost 80 years, and he will probably retire from politics and I hope they won’t hound him with all kind of charges and allegations,” Mandaza said.
Mandaza highlighted that Mnangagwa was rather naïve, didn’t see this coming and was completely played out by the old man (Mugabe).
Opposition politician leader and former Zanu-PF Member of Parliament Margaret Dongo was not surprised that Mnangagwa has been fired.
“He failed to voice when he was still inside, he is a coward. He failed to defend many who were sympathetic to him because he thought he was indispensable – let him join the enemies club,” Dongo told Daily Maverick.
However, the ruling party spokesperson could not furnish details on who was to replace Mnangagwa.
Mnangagwa was appointed Vice President in 2014, replacing Joice Mujuru who was axed after being accused of plotting to topple Mugabe. Meanwhile, the Youth League has endorsed the First Lady, who is also the Zanu-PF Secretary for Women Affairs and an ideal candidate for the Vice Presidency position as the ruling party prepares for a special congress next month.
Dewa Mavhinga, the Human Rights Watch Director for southern Africa, said, “This is vintage Mugabe, over the years since independence he has been concentrating power in himself both in the government and the party, first by abolishing the secretary general’s position to create centre of power and amending the Lancaster House constitution to create an all-powerful executive president.
“Mugabe is preparing his wife and her team to take over after him, hence the purging of any likely successor. The team that goes in now accept that Mugabe is president for life and are the succession team after Mugabe is gone,” says Mavhinga.
As Mnangagwa’s journey as Vice President has come to an end, who is next? Yesterday at the Super Sunday rally the First Lady indicated that all those pushing Mnangagwa’s “Team Lacoste” agenda are gone and dead.
Attempts to reach Mnangagwa on Monday night were unsuccessful, and his whereabouts could not be immediately established. DM
Photo: Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe is flanked by his deputy Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa as he reads a copy of the country’s 2017 National Budget in the house of parliament, in Harare, Zimbabwe, 08 December 2016, Photo: Aaron Ufumeli/EPA-EFE.
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Tigers cannot purr.