President Robert Mugabe is now isolated as he has been split on trying to rein in his wife, Grace, and her G40 without at the same time alienating himself from the military establishment that saved him from being kicked out of government in 2008.
London-based Africa Confidential says Grace has warned Mugabe to brace himself for embarrassment and political demise.
G40 which takes in Higher Education Minister Jonathan Moyo, Local Government Minister Saviour Kasukuwere, Indigenisation Minister Patrick Zhuwao and Vice-President Phelekezela Mphoko, has largely been responsible for the purges in the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front which seemed to be targeted at perceived supporters of the other Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
G40 wants to sideline Mnangagwa from succeeding Mugabe. There is no clear succession plan within ZANU-PF but Mnangagwa seems to be the front runner.
African Confidential says Mugabe has now spotted the danger of giving Grace and her faction too much power and has clipped her wings.
Whispers say Mugabe was told bluntly by war veterans on 7 April that he should rein in his wife because if she continued to challenge Mnangagwa, whom Mugabe appointed, she was actually telling Mugabe that he is too old and must go.
Mugabe has since appointed Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa to be in charge of the disciplinary committee which has been responsible for suspending or expelling people. The committee was previously chaired by Mphoko who was “elevated” to chairman of the Disciplinary appeals committee.
Chinamasa allegedly belongs to the Mnangagwa camp.
But according to Africa Confidential, Mugabe may have left things too late. “It may now be too late…He cannot stop his rampaging wife and her allies….He has no conversation with the boys.”
Africa Confidential may, however, be underestimating the power of the war veterans who include the military and Mnangagwa himself. The military has literally been running the show since the land invasions of 2 000 and have told Mugabe bluntly that they have only one commander-in-chief, Mugabe himself. Though Mnangagwa claims to have no presidential ambitions, he has also been literally running the show since rescuing Mugabe after he lost the first round of the 2008 elections.