Mnangagwa: Is He The Ultimate Survivor?

  Mnangagwa: Is He The Ultimate Survivor?
Published: 2016 August 04 09:16:35 (2028 Views)


GIVEN the rough and tumble of Zimbabwean politics, Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa may be a suitable candidate for the accolade: The ultimate survivor.

Events of Wednesday last week proved that the 69-year old veteran politician is indeed a cunning survivor — that is if he is not living on borrowed time. When one of his political adversaries in the ruling ZANU-PF party, Mandiitawepi Chimene turned her guns — at point blank range — and tore into Mnangagwa in a vituperative rant, most observers thought “the crocodile or ngwena,” as Mnangagwa is affectionately known, had finally come to the end of his political career.
But before Chimene had caught her breath, after her heart-stopping attack on her superior, President Robert Mugabe had come to Mnangagwa’s rescue, and the crocodile survived to fight another day.
Seated quietly in his chair next to President Mugabe, showing no emotions just like a crocodile basking in the sun, Mnangagwa even partook in the sloganeering that denigrated him as he displayed extraordinary resilience to blunt torture. And his reaction a day later, over his down-dressing by Chimene, exposed the typical traits of a real crocodile that appear to be inherent in Mnangagwa.
After Chimene’s attack, Mnangagwa’s response was typical: “Do I look like I care?… They can continue barking, barking and barking, while I continue working for ZANU-PF and my President.”Currently locked in a vicious succession battle with fellow ZANU-PF cadres, who have publicly sworn that his biggest dream of becoming the next President of Zimbabwe would never come true, Mnangagwa has been methodical in dealing with his foes, who include former vice president Joice Mujuru.
While the modus operandi of his rivals — as dramatised right in front of the ruling party’s leader, President Mugabe, on Wednesday last week — has been direct confrontation, his style has been a stealth approach.
“He is the ultimate political survivor,” says former government bureaucrat and political scientist, Ibbo Mandaza. “Other people come and go; careers rise and fall; alliances shift, but Mnangagwa seemingly survives and even prospers all the time.”
Variously described as “ruthless”, “calculating” and a “head kicker”, Mnangagwa’s political life — spanning over half a century — has all been about surviving potentially fatal political situations.
Political scientist, Eldred Masunungure noted: “He is the man who has established himself firmly in all party and government systems and has been doing all the donkey work for Mugabe since 1980. He is all over the systems and Mugabe, I am sure, is well informed to know that even if he wants to remove him, he cannot do so to appease trigger-happy elements like Sarah Mahoka and Mandi Chimene. He has to find the right time and atmosphere if he is to do it.”
But there are so many other factors that can explain why Mnangagwa has survived thus far, which have very little to do with his tricks and schemes. Political analysts agree that with the 2018 general elections beckoning, and the ruling party struggling to recover from a crippling purging spree of Mujuru and her many allies, President Mugabe knows very well that it would not be a wise idea to undergo another crisis of that nature.
“It looks like he is not prepared to take those risks. He cannot afford to break the party after firing Mujuru and others,” said political commentator, Rashweat Mukundu. He added: “He (Mnangagwa) could actually be living on borrowed time, hanging on the clemency of President Mugabe, who could drop him at a time that is convenient for him.”
Mandaza has this other opinion: “With this humiliation, one is tempted to think that they actually want Mnangagwa to resign. In fact, if I were him, I would have packed by bags a long time ago.” Mandaza reckons that the public humiliation of Mnangagwa was likely to continue.
“Who knows, maybe (President) Mugabe himself must be saying different things to Mnangagwa and then goes back to his rivals and blow the fire,” he said. In these uncertain times, President Mugabe seems to be playing a delicate balancing act to prevent an implosion in his party by appearing to keep Mnangagwa’s rivals at bay in public, while at the same time itching for his number two’s fall, but keeping him working for him as hard as he can.
A case of keeping your friends close and your enemies even closer! Mnangagwa might have survived last Wednesday’s ouster bid, but will he last the distance? Could the ultimate political survivor actually be living on borrowed time? These are just some of the many questions that leave many praying to live long enough to witness the end of it all.
You may also like to read 'G40 Finishes Off Wounded Lacoste Team'.





- FinGaz
Tags: Mnangagwa, ZanuPf, 2018,
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