Harare:Former Finance minister Tendai Biti may have unwittingly poured fuel into the raging fires of the ruling Zanu PF’s deadly tribal, factional and succession wars — after he observed that Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa is close to succeeding President Robert Mugabe.

This comes after Biti, who now leads the opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP), wrote in a contribution to an online magazine — The Gravitas — that Mnangagwa was well-positioned to succeed Mugabe, after successfully projecting himself both as a tough and capable politician.

“The one-self evident conclusion is that in the short-term, Zanu PF cannot be dislodged. That its control of the patronage economy and the new social base is absolute.

“That despite its fractures, the opposition, even in a grand coalition, cannot dislodge Zanu PF. That a post-Mugabe candidate must be found who is, first of all, strong — but with an acceptable veneer of reform capacity.

“Inevitably, this self-serving proselytising leads to destination (Emmerson) Mnangagwa,” Biti said in his contribution.

“With the bulk of those who have controlled it (Zim) for the last four decades being in their mid 70s, it is a State in transition. That transition is ideological, demographic, technological and sociological. It is that transition that needs to be captured.

“The real challenge of democrats is not in the event of 2018, but the capture of the ongoing transition … the transition must be captured to ensure it is not derailed by shareholders of the status quo. It must be captured to buy peace.

“It must be captured to create a soft landing for our country and in the process, deny the merchants of violence who want a civil war or a coup d’état in this lovely country we are privileged to call home,” Biti added, while urging the opposition to coalesce and work to stop Mnangagwa from becoming the country’s next leader.

By saying this, Biti becomes the latest high profile figure to suggest that Mnangagwa is getting closer to winning Zanu PF’s ugly succession war. daily news