Charles Mabhena

Machinations are underway to undermine the most feared Zimbabwe Vice-President Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa’s chances to ascent to the high office in the event that President Robert Mugabe leaves the reigns.

Speaking to members of the press in Harare yesterday, Member of Parliament for Norton constituency honourable Temba Mliswa said something that seem to undermine Mnangagwa’s ascendancy based on tribal lines dominance and he exonerated him of any wrongdoing during the Gukurahundi genocide.

“Let us call a spade a spade. Gukurahundi was an act by the Zezuru people to eliminate any other tribes like the Ndebeles and the Karangas so that they would maintain superiority. No wonder why they have ruled from 1980 to now,” said Mliswa.

Mliswa’s comments that it is time the Karangas take over power to recover from the betrayal by President Robert Mugabe who had promised that the next President would come from the Karangas has the potential to invoke tribalism in the race to succeed Mugabe.

Such comments can lead to the VP losing the favour of other tribes such as the Zezuru, Ndebele, and others who would feel short changed by his rise.

Mliswa’s brushing aside of the widely held claims that Mnangwagwa was involved in the Gukurahundi massacres could stir heated debates much to the disadvantage of Mnangagwa.

Most people are convinced that the VP participated by being the boss of state security at the time of the moment of madness (Gukurahundi) in which estimated 20 000 civilians were killed in Matabeleland and Midlands provinces, was involved and is equally guilty.

He went on to say that he had told Mnangagwa point blank that the President does not like him because he was a Karanga despite the VP’s unquestionable loyalty to Mugabe. Mliswa said it was because of Mugabe’s tribalistic preferences that saw Joice Mujuru rising to the VP post ahead of Mnangagwa in 2004.  

“In 2004, Mnangagwa was supposed to land the VP post, from a democratic point of view, but Mujuru, a secretary for production and because she was a Zezuru was elevated to the post in place of a Karanga,” he said.

This is clearly pitting Mugabe against his long term serving lieutenant, as it give the impression that Mnangagwa is itching to settle a tribal score against Mugabe.

A political commentator, Elder Mabhunu says Mliswa could be working for the downfall of the battle-hardened Ngwena who has proved to be a powerful man that can remain calm under storm.

He says it is clear from all angles that Mnangagwa is now the man in charge.

“Mugabe is now more of a ceremonial President; Mnangagwa is now the powerful man running the show; that is why many are now putting pressure on him.

They want to create as much enemies as possible for him, by revoking the tribal element they want to create enmity between him and the masses,” he says.

“Never underestimate the power of tribalism; it is a hot and delicate issue. In some countries wars have erupted based on tribal grounds.

“I hope you remember the Hutus and Tutsis in Rwanda, and/ or the Sunnis, the Baathists, and the Shammar in Iraq,” adds Mabhunu.

Mabhunu says by merely appearing to be supporting Mnangagwa, Mliswa could actually be in a ploy with his funders that are well aware that this  will put the VP in bad light in the eyes of Mugabe and other ZANU PF members.

Meanwhile, Mnangagwa has been under attack from some sections in his party after he hosted a party where expelled and suspended members of ZANU PF were alleged to have attended. They accused him of dining with the enemy.