The Long Road to Power: Emmerson Mnangagwa


emmerson mnangagwaDespite Mugabe circumventing his own party’s constitution, Mnangagwa who was recently chosen as Vice President of the Republic of Zimbabwe will most likely succeed Robert Mugabe. Mnangagwa will have a taste of the Presidency for at least a month as Mugabe goes on leave until January 2015.

The Long Road to Power

The events of 2014 and ZANU-PF power struggles would not surprise any political scholar because they mirror what transpired in 2004 when now Vice President Mnangagwa was sidelined for becoming too ambitious. In 2004 Emmerson Mnangagwa and his allies including Jonathan Moyo were sidelined in ZANU-PF and government after the famous Tsholotsho Indaba (meeting). At this meeting and several other meetings Mnangagwa and his allies (including the now deceased Elliott Manyika) ambitiously plotted how to make Mnangagwa Vice President of the party and the state. Mnangagwa and his allies made the mistake of having too much ambition too early and clearly learned their lesson.

In 2004, the Mujuru faction benefited from a proposal by the Women’s League led by Oppah Muchinguri and Grace Mugabe to reserve the Vice Presidency for a woman. From that proposal, Joice Mujuru quickly emerged as the best candidate. However, she would not be a sure sell to the delegates who were responsible for electing the Vice Secretary. So the Mujuru faction led by the late General Solomon Mujuru prompted Mugabe to change the rules so that their candidate Joice would be elected. Due to Mnangagwa’s folly former VP Mujuru ascended to the Vice Presidency at his expense. Mugabe eagerly agreed with the Women’s league because he felt Mnangagwa was too ambitiously seeking the second highest office (just like VP Mujuru in 2014). The Tsholotsho Declaration as it came to be known was formulated under the premise that:-

  • all the country’s four major ethnic groups, Karanga, Manyika, Zezuru and Ndebele be represented in the presidium;
  • the position of president should not be monopolised by one ethnic group, but rotate among the four major ethnic groupings;
    that the filling of positions in the presidium should not be by imposition by the party hierarchy, but through democratic elections done by secret balloting; and
  • such positions must be filled in accordance with the party constitution.

This declaration was devised to give Mnangagwa a greater chance and decrease Mujuru’s chances since she was zezuru and Mugabe was already representing the zezuru. However, the Women’s league pressured Mugabe to appoint a female Vice President to increase their representation. There is nothing new under the sun, especially in ZANU-PF. Nothing about the events in 2014 would surprise anyone who has been in ZANU-PF long enough.

The recently appointed Vice President of Zimbabwe was born 15 September 1946. He attained a Law degree from the University of Zambia.