The Nation’s worst fears on Mnangagwa

• Can Emmerson, wife Auxillia be trusted with power? By Matthew Takaona Mnangagwa is one of the three men with a real chance of ...

• Can Emmerson, wife Auxillia be trusted with power?

By Matthew Takaona

Mnangagwa is one of the three men with a real chance of landing the country's top political post in the 2018 National Elections with the other two being Morgan Tsvangirai of the MDC T and Robert Mugabe of Zanu PF. 
I say Robert Mugabe and Mnangagwa who are both from the same organisation Zanu PF because the situation in that party is currently fluid and any of the two can emerge a candidate. In fact Zanu PF has never been so fluid after independence to the extent that Army generals are perceived to have deserted Mugabe and swing with a different person. Such fears have been publicly expressed by both Mugabe and his wife Grace.
It is also public knowledge that Zanu PF's power rests with the Army and this was proclaimed by Mugabe and Mnangagwa themselves. A few years back, Mugabe told people gathered at Independence Celebrations at the National Sports Stadium that Masoldier 'ndicho chibhakira changu' (the Army is my fist) meaning that without the army he is powerless. Mnangagwa also acknowledged that source of power for his party when he introduced Army Commander, General Constantino Chiwengwa at a rally to celebrate his wife's victory in the Chirumanzu- Zivagwe by-election as Zanu PF's chief political commissar.
Mnangagwa's chances for 2018 and not even 2023 are therefore quite significant considering public statements made from high offices that he has the backing of top army generals. As much as the Army respects Mugabe and may not have problems with him seeking re-election in 2018, the military's fear and the war veterans' worst fear is a scenario where Mugabe hands over power to his acerbic wife who will have Jonathan Moyo calling shots from behind.
The core of  Zanu PF that includes war veterans and top members of the Army would in the worst case scenario rather Tsvangirai  be the President of Zimbabwe than Grace or Moyo and this declaration was made by Christopher Mutsvangwa who is the chairman of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association recently. He said of Moyo and Grace; "These people are not going to see the light of power in Zimbawe; we declare here as war veterans".  
Mnangagwa's chances in 2018 remain just as good as Mugabe or Tsvangirai's despite the tongue-lashing he has been getting from Mugabe and Grace at recent youth interface rallies. These three men are the real horses for 2018. If Mujuru decides to enter the elections outside the coalition, she is likely to get the third highest results after MDC T and Zanu PF in any order.
But what are the fears on Mnangagwa?
Although Mnangagwa is a man who can overrun Zanu PF structures anytime he wants to, the same cannot be held true with the Zimbabwean electorate. The public is afraid of him. The public fears him. Just over a decade ago when Mugabe challenged those in Zanu PF with Presidential ambitions to declare them openly, there was a lot of public debate on politicians seen as possible contenders and the biggest fear on Mnangagwa was his perceived ruthlessness.
Realising the avalanche of public sentiments on his perceived character, Mnangagwa came out in the public and made a statement to the effect that he is "as soft as wool".
Except on a few occasions including after the Tshlotho fiasco when Mugabe relegated Mnangagwa to a periphery Cabinet Post of Minister of Rural Amenities, Mnangagwa seems to care less about the feared man tag.
After his demotion Mnangagwa became an ardent member of one of the apostolic churches and would in his addresses refer a lot to the Bible. At that time he said although he was trained to kill, he was a changed man.
In fact the public associates the violent nature of Zanu PF with Mnangagwa more than anyone else in that party. Although he vehemently disputes it; Mnangagwa has been associated with Gukurahundi. He is also a feared man in Kwekwe and the Midlands Province where political violence is common.
When dismissing Joice Mujuru's contributions in the ruling party as paltry at one of her star rallies, First Lady Grace Mugabe hailed Mnangagwa for plucking Zanu PF from out of the jaws of defeat in the 2008 elections   after Mugabe was beaten by Tsvangirai. She said had it not been for the likes of Mnangagwa, the party would have lost power. However, what Zimbabweans remember of the by-election that came after that defeat on June 27, 2008  is the unprecedented country-wide violence that left hundreds of people dead, thousands more maimed and tens of thousands running away from Zimbabwe to seek refuge in countries in the region and abroad. 
This was the worst election violence seen in independent Zimbabwe.
The 2008 re-run had chilling episodes of violence where war veterans and Zanu PF activists set up torture bases in all wards throughout Zimbabwe while women were reportedly raped, cattle, sheep, chicken and goats stolen and slaughtered. Teachers who were suspected to be sympathisers of the MDC T were tortured for weeks in those bases and others died.
Many teachers still have hallucinations of the 2008 violence.
Although Mnangagwa has dissociated himself from the Matebeleland massacres of the 1980s' which Mugabe describe as 'a moment of madness' he is yet to speak and dissociate himself from the 2008 violence and assure the public that he was not involved and that the country is safe from all sorts of political violence if he is elected Zimbabwe's President.
For the electorate to have real confidence in Mnangagwa as a Presidential candidate, he must seriously consider clearing his name on the 2008 violence that left chilly memories.
On the business side the electorate is not comfortable with Mnangagwa's silence over the closure in 2008 of Shabani, Mashava Mines (SMM); the then biggest mines in his home town. Over 7 000 workers lost jobs leaving families and children in two whole towns; Mashava and Zvishavane in destitution.  The ghost of that closure continues to haunt those towns and yet there has not been a flicker from Mnangawa on the issue despite that he is the most senior politician in the Midlands.
Mnangagwa's silence gives an impression of a politician who is not moved or touched by the suffering of people.
Mnangagwa is well respected in business circles but the collapse of several Midlands towns ie Kwekwe, Redcliff and Gweru which were Zimbabwe's industrial hubs brings  question marks to this. Giant industries like Zisco, Haggie, Lancshire Steel, Zimasco in Kwekwe and many others in Gweru all shut down at a time when Mnangagwa was the most senior politician in that province. He has not been seen intervening to serve those industries.
In the case of Zisco Steel for example workers have gone for almost ten years without salaries but still waiting and hoping that one day things will be right.
Speaking at her maiden rally at Mucheke stadium after leaving Zanu PF, Mujuru challenged Mnangagwa to come clean on the problems afflicting the towns of Zvishavane and Mashava. She suggested that the asbestos mines there were closed over very trivial issues involving powerful people.
Meanwhile Grace Mugabe has provided abundant evidence of the power a First Lady can wield in the affairs of Government and the State and this brings into scrutiny Auxillia, the wife that Mnangagwa wedded a few years ago into scrutiny.
Auxillia is the MP for Chirumhanzu-Zibagwe Constituency and she replaced her husband in a by-election after Mnangwagwa was appointed Vice President.
Reports of political violence involving Auxillia's close aides in her constituency were reported at Mvuma Police Station two years ago and one war veteran and a former school headmaster, Christopher Magwaza has been on crusade to expose the use of fear to force the electorate to toe the line. Some people in Chirumhanzu-Zibagwe Constituency are of the view that Auxilia is excessively militant in her approach.
Those who have attended her rallies complain that she uses threats and command people around.
Recently a group of headmen and villagers wrote a petition to President Mugabe complaining against Chief Chirumhanzu who they accuse of getting support from  powerful politicians to oppress people and violate the law. The petition also said that Chirumhanzu cannot be arrested by the Police and neither can he be charged at the courts because of the protection he gets. The Minister of Rural Development, Protection and Prevention of National Culture Abedinico Ncube recently despatched a Commission of Enquiry to investigate the allegations contained in the petition and a response is yet to be obtained.
That Zimbabwe has suffered enough political violence and its ramification since independence is there for all to see.
The country  does  not need more of that.Seeds of hatred have been sown in communities, avenging spirits (ngozi) have afflicted many people, skills have migrated to other countries, property and business was destroyed and the contribution of political  violence to the current state of the economy cannot be understated.
Political violence has also ensured that democracy, one of the key tenets of the liberation struggle remains elusive to Zimbabwe 37 years into independence.
Most of the results of the national elections since 2000 have been largerly influenced by violence more than the universal suffrage.
Mnangagwa's popularity has over the last six months been growing  particurlaly because of public sympathy over the harassment and ridicule that he receives from Mugabe and his wife. 
Chances that Mnangagwa can be the next President are rising by the day but fears remain; will he be in there for the common man?top story

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The Mirror: The Nation’s worst fears on Mnangagwa
The Nation’s worst fears on Mnangagwa
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