HARARE: Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s ally, controversial businessman Energy Mutodi says a coup is likely in Zimbabwe if President Robert Mugabe fails to “carefully choose his successor” amid rising succession tensions within the ruling Zanu-PF.

Two distinct camps have emerged in Zimbabwe’s revolutionary party in recent years, as factions seek to outwit each other in the race to succeed the 93 year-old leader.

Mnangagwa was allegedly leading a faction that was angling to succeed Mugabe calling itself “Team Lacoste”, while another grouping made up of young Turks, commonly known as Generation 40 and backing First Lady Grace Mugabe to succeed her ageing husband, wanted to torpedo Mnangagwa’s presidential ambitions.

Although both Mnangagwa and the First Lady have publicly denied harbouring presidential ambitions, the ructions in the revolutionary party have now become synonymous in Zanu-PF politics.

Adding his voice in the growing calls for Mugabe to name a successor, Mutodi said that the veteran leader had to be careful in choosing his successor and consult widely.

Mutodi, according to News Zimbabwe, wrote on his Facebook page, that the veteran leader should avoid raising “any suspicion of unfairness or discrimination” as it may “backfire” and even tarnish his name.

Said Mutodi: “Decision making in succession issues has always been a problem among Africans; resulting in civil wars, repetitive coups and economic turmoil.”

He said that Mugabe needed to consult with the country’s security establishment as it had played an instrumental role in keeping him in power.

“President Mugabe [needs] to be careful in naming his successor.  Any suspicion of unfairness or discrimination on account of tribalism or factionalism may backfire.  There are key stakeholders that need to be consulted, among them the military and the whole security establishment called the Joint Operations Command that is chaired by Vice President Mnangagwa,” wrote Mutodi .

He said that Mugabe’s prolonged stay in power was unlikely going to have happened without the backing of the military top brass.

Mutodi’s remarks came a few weeks after First Lady Grace Mugabe told Zimbabwe’s vice presidents at a campaign rally in Chinhoyi that they were serving at her husband’s will.

Grace warned her husband’s deputies Mnangagwa and Phelekezela Mphoko that they risked losing their jobs if they did not perform to the expectations of her husband.

A few days earlier, the First lady had publicly urged her ageing husband to name his successor.