‘Mugabe no longer in charge,' says opposition after public row of deputies

2017-10-06 06:00
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe. (Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi, AP)

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe. (Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi, AP)

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Harare – Zimbabwean opposition parties have described the recent public spat between President Robert Mugabe’s two deputies as a sign that the veteran leader is no longer in charge, says a report.

According to reports on Wednesday, in an unprecedented rift between the two deputies, Phekezela Mphoko accused Emmerson Mnangagwa of undermining the president’s authority by alleging he was poisoned at a political rally in August.

Mphoko alleged that Mnangagwa was also using his poisoning scare to cause tribal divisions for political expedience within the ruling Zanu-PF party.

He added that Mnangagwa's claim was a "calculated" challenge to President Mugabe’s "public account that Mnangagwa’s medical doctor ruled out poisoning" as the cause of his "traumatising vomiting and diarrhoea" experience at the August 12 rally.

"There’s little doubt now, if there ever was any, that there appears to be an agenda to undermine the authority of President Mugabe and to destabilise the country by using lies to fan ethnic tensions for political purposes," Mphoko was quoted as saying at the time.

The spokesperson for the Zimbabwe African People's Union (Zapu), Mjobisi Noko, said this was a sign of confusion within Mugabe’s ruling Zanu-PF party, reported New Zimbabwe.com.

He added that the infighting within Zanu-PF was “hurting ordinary Zimbabweans". 

A spokesperson for the Tendai Biti-led People’s Democratic Party,  Jacob Mafume, believes that this showed that a rival faction within Mugabe’s party wanted Mnangagwa out as they are not confident in defeating him “before the policy conference or any other elective process”.

“They are not confident to defeat him and they do not want to take chances. They are not convinced by the long game Mugabe is playing in keeping Mnangagwa in office,” Mafume was quoted as saying.

Meanwhile, an unnamed senior Zanu-PF official questioned Mphoko’s statement, saying that this was odd as health issues were very private matters and were in no way undermining Mugabe’s authority.

The official stated that Mnangagwa had exonerated the Mugabes over his alleged poisoning when he issued a statement denying to have eaten ice cream from the First Family dairies.

Mnangagwa’s loyalists accused his "Generation 40" rivals within the ruling Zanu-PF party of poisoning him in a bid to physically eliminate him from the race to succeed Mugabe, 93.

Last month, Mnangagwa issued a statement denying reports that he had eaten ice-cream from the Mugabe-owned Gushungo Dairies when he fell ill at the Gwanda rally, but did not say anything at the time regarding his alleged poisoning.

Mnangagwa, who reportedly leads a faction calling itself "Team Lacoste", is battling against "Generation 40" - of which Mphoko is believed to be a member -  to take over power from Mugabe when the nonagenarian dies or leaves office. 

Read more on:    zapu  |  zanu -pf  |  tendai biti  |  emmerson mnangagwa  |  phekezela mphoko  |  robert mugabe  |  zimbabwe  |  southern africa

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