Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa who has been vilified for the past 18 months scored two major victories in the past two weeks proving that he remains a force to reckon with in the succession game within the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front.
But time could be running out for him as the country’s economy remains stagnant, a sure case that if things remain like this until the 2018 elections even President Robert Mugabe might lose the elections as he did in the March 2008.
And with no sign that Mugabe is leaving any time soon despite his ailing health Mnangagwa’s chances will be reduced to zero if Mugabe stands and wins the 2018 elections as Mnangagwa will be 77 if Mugabe survives the term which will be his last.
Mnangagwa scored his first victory when war veterans allegedly loyal to the First lady and her G40, failed to oust pro-Mnangagwa war veterans leader Christopher Mutsvangwa.
The pro-Mnangagwa camp prevailed, telling their 92-year-old patron that party slogans should only be in recognition of him and no one else.
Though this was considered a small victory as they failed to kick out Mugabe as there had been calls for him to step down, it marked a significant shift in the trends within ZANU-PF where it had become the norm to fire anyone that the G40 did not agree with.
Mnangagwa scored his second victory when Mugabe backed down in his hardline stance on indigenisation. Though the law has not yet been amended, this was a major victory for Mnangagwa and Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa as they have been working frantically to resuscitate the economy before the 2018 elections.
Mnangagwa has been vilified because of his alleged presidential ambitions- though he has publicly stated that the door is open to anyone- but he has managed to weather the storm by keeping his cool.
His admirers say this is the mark of a statesman. They also claim that First Lady Grace Mugabe and her supporters in G40 are quite aware that Mnangagwa is difficult to stop.
They claim that everyone is targeting Mnangagwa because “ane bhora ndiye anomakwa” (you only mark the one with the ball).
The West seems to have literally accepted Mnangagwa as the heir apparent, but the economy could be his worst enemy.
Although Mugabe painted a rosy picture in his 36th independence anniversary speech, everyone knows that things are not good at all. The economy could be ZAU-PF’s downfall just like in 2008 when people voted Mugabe out because they wanted someone who could steer the country back to prosperity.
Mnangagwa was, however, one of those that made sure Mugabe remained in office.
Now could this be payback time?