Mugabe’s reported comeback a spoiler for Mnangagwa


However, another Zimbabwe analyst, Derek Matyszak of the Pretoria-based Institute for Security Studies (ISS), does not believe the NPF presents a real challenge to Mnangagwa. In an interview with News24 he dismissed it as just a project by Mugabe and other disaffected ZANU-PF members to continue his legacy.

Matyszak said it was “wishful thinking” to believe the new party had “the gravitas to challenge the ruling ZANU-PF party”. He also found it very hypocritical of Mugabe to demand an apology from Mnangagwa for ousting him, as Mugabe reportedly did at his recent 94th birthday party. He noted that Mugabe had overseen “the most brutal regime under the ZANU-PF banner for years”.

Zimbabwean political analyst Ibbo Mandaza said he didn’t know what the NPF’s strategy was.

“But I hope they can read the dynamics on the ground and understand why it is crucial to have one presidential candidate if we want to dump the military under President Emmerson Mnangagwa and Vice President Constantino Chiwenga.

“Certainly that presidential candidate can’t be anyone formerly associated with ZANU-PF.”

Zimbabwe advocate Freedom Chuma said he had no doubt Mugabe had given his blessing and support to the NPF as he was clearly very unhappy with the way he was ousted.

“I think Mugabe is a person with a resilient character. Once he sticks to a principle, he can die with it. His argument is that politics should lead the gun and no matter how much they might disentitle him or take away his ill-gotten wealth, he might actually choose to go down fighting.”

Arthur Sibanda, from Bulawayo, advised Mugabe to remain in retirement.

“What more does he need? He must take a back seat and let others lead. His time has passed and he should focus on other things such as playing grandfather to his grandchildren or writing books.” DM

By Sally Nyakanyanga & Peter Fabricius for the Daily Maverick


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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.


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