Charles Mabhena

Zimbabwe’s Acting President Emmerson Mnangagwa sidestepped stirring storm as he stuck to his prepared speech during the burial of national hero Peter Chanetsa at the National Heroes Acre on Saturday.

The event came few days after he had been locked in controversy following a picture that went viral on social media were he was pictured drinking wine in a mug inscribed I am The Boss.

He got a backlash from Jonathan Moyo of the Generation 40 (G40) group who accused him of being disrespectful and wanting to topple Mugabe by calling himself ‘The Boss.’

Mnangagwa is embroidered in a succession battle, pitting him and his sympathisers (Team Lacoste) against Moyo, Saviour Kasukuwere and company’s G40 who are clearly against his ascendancy in the event that President Robert Mugabe leaves office.

The battle that has since ripped ZANU PF into two camps had gotten serious and nastier with time to the extent that the G40 once undressed him in public and before Mugabe himself, calling that he be fired.

Be that as it may, Mnangagwa proved to be a mature and calculative strategist by remaining calm under storm, much to the surprise to many who expected him to fire back in return.

Unlike his boss (Mugabe) who is known for taking every opportunity to address a gathering to attack his enemies including opposition parties, the British and the Americans. In his address Mnangagwa made no reference to the prevailing succession battle, neither did he try to settle a score.

The Acting President managed to hold the peace and kept his foes guessing as to what his thoughts in the whole issue are; by not using the podium to attack opponents and/or to clear his name in the recent and now topical ‘mug saga.’

He remained focused with the business of the day, and  described Chanetsa as a hard worker who had long earned his place at the national shrine because of his commitment and dedication to duty during the liberation struggle and after independence.

“Chanetsa laid the foundation, and worked hard in the sensitive and demanding role of government protocol. He also stood firm for the landless blacks and was instrumental in the land reform programme.

“He managed to use his provincial governorship post to ensure that the land reform programme was a success, despite stiff resistance from the whites. It was not easy,” he said.

Mnangagwa added that owing to Chanetsa’s immense contribution to the land reform, those who got it especially under Command Agriculture should fully utilise it to honour to his efforts.

Meanwhile, Chanetsa is the second national hero to be buried by an Acting President after the late Misheck Chando who was buried by Joice Mujuru while Mugabe was away.