Derek Matyszak was speaking last week at a dialogue forum organised by the Southern African Political Economy Series (SAPES) under the topic Zimbabwe in Transition: Is Grace closing in on the throne?
Matyszak said the December 2004 move against Mnangagwa was hardly about divide and rule but rather a pre-emptive strike by Mugabe who thought and felt that Mnangagwa was becoming too powerful for his comfort.
“Mugabe likes to be the only person sitting with the power and when it looks like somebody else is developing power then he moves to undercut that power.
“But you will never see him doing dirty politics, you will never see his finger prints at the scene and you will never say Mugabe did this,” said Matyszak.
Mnangagwa looked set to clinch the VP post in 2004 until Joice Mujuru was elevated at the last minute following the Tsholotsho meeting where Mnangagwa’s colleagues were said to have plotted his ascendancy.
Ten years later, Mujuru was removed from the VP post and in came her nemesis, Mnangagwa, in a dramatic change of fortunes for Zimbabwe’s first woman VP.
According to Matyszak, the removal of Mujuru was akin to Mnangagwa’s fall in 2004.
He said just as in the case of Mnangagwa, Mugabe made it appear as if it was “her own faulty” and the will of “the overwhelming majority of the party” that Mujuru had to be removed.
Matyszak said Mugabe told party supporters during the December congress that Mujuru wasn’t elected to the central committee and yet the vice president has to come from that organ of the party.
“And she couldn’t be elected to that position (VP) because she was not appointed to the central committee.
“It ended up looking as if it wasn’t Mugabe firing her. He claimed that he had nothing to do with it but that it was Mujuru who brought it upon herself,” said Matyszak.
“So, you see that’s why I am suspicious when they say Mugabe is plotting his wife’s ascendancy to the throne.
“What seems to be happening now is that when the dust of the post 2014 congress had settled it became clear that Mnangagwa had too much power and it looks like he was too much the obvious successor.
“So, there was a need then to counter balance that power and that to me seems to be what is happening with the current round of events.
Matyszak added that if there had been a plot from the onset to get Grace to be the next leader, the ruling party constitution amendments that took place in December 2014 would have reflected that.
He said Mugabe would have tried to facilitate Grace’s ascendency to the throne through the mechanism of the Zanu PF constitution, if that’s what he wanted.
“But once again that’s not how Mugabe operates; he doesn’t think in terms of the law and he doesn’t think constitutionally.
“Mugabe has a maxim of how he operates: do whatever you want and you will be muddled through the consequences,” said Matyszak.
His comments come at a time when many see Grace slowly taking over power from her aged husband.
Observers say a group of young party members called G40 is fighting the First Lady’s corner and is determined to ensure VP Mnangagwa does not become the next president.
The so-called G40 is said to be composed of higher education minister Jonathan Moyo, local government minister Saviour Kasukuwere and indigenisation minister Patrick Zhuwao amongst others.
Source: News Day