PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe will rule Zimbabwe until he dies, Vice-President Emerson Mnangagwa has said.
BY NUNURAI JENA
Mnangagwa is touted as one of ailing 93-year-old Mugabe’s possible successors alongside First Lady Grace Mugabe, but the two have repeatedly denied harbouring any presidential ambitions, at least while the veteran Zanu PF leader is still alive.
Zanu PF is split between two distinct factions — G40 reportedly led by First Lady Grace and Team Lacoste which sympathises with Mnangagwa.
The VP reportedly has support from sections of the country’s security services as well as war veterans, while Grace is said to draw support from the stricken women’s league and youth wings of the party.
Mnangagwa told a gathering at Pamene Farm, owned by Apostle St Noah Taguta of the Johanne Marange Apostolic sect, that the Church and the generality of Zimbabweans should continue to pray for Mugabe to remain in power.
“In Romans, God said ‘I will put leaders among you’. He was referring to us, we were put in power by God to rule over you, so you people of the Church, you must continue praying for President Mugabe to rule and rule and rule over you,” Mnangagwa said.
Mugabe, battling failing health and a litany of ailments, has already been nominated as Zanu PF presidential candidate for the 2018 elections.
Zimbabwe’s Constitution, adopted through a referendum in 2013, allows Mugabe, who will be 94 next February, to serve for another final five-year term. The former guerilla leader has already been in power for 37 years and remains Zimbabwe’s only leader since majority rule from Britain in 1980.
Mnangagwa said Mugabe was not bothered by reports that his lieutenants were plotting behind his back or looking beyond him.
“Those who bark will continue to bark and to bark while President Mugabe will continue to rule and to rule and to rule over us,” Mnangagwa mockingly boasted.
While publicly extolling Mugabe’s virtues, Mnangagwa was reportedly eyeing the Zanu PF’s presidency with rival groups in constant running battles to outwit each other.
But the G40 group, which comprises Higher Education minister Jonathan Moyo and party commissar Saviour Kasukuwere, among others, seems to have hit a political tidal wave this week with demonstrators across the country demanding the expulsion of politburo member and women’s league deputy secretary Eunice Sandi-Moyo and treasurer Sarah Mahoka.
The women’s league executive has already lost spokesperson Monica Mutsvangwa and secretary for administration the late Espinah Nhari.
Mnangagwa said the government’s command agriculture programme was set to surpass 2 million tonnes of maize to satisfy local consumption.
The VP issued a warning to farmers who abused inputs that the long arm of law would soon catch up with them admitting that the inputs were misappropriated in three provinces which he did not mention.