Zimbabwe Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa would be more ruthless than Robert Mugabe if he becomes president, a former lecturer at the University of Zimbabwe Brian Raftopoulos said 16 years ago when Mnangagwa rose from the political brink to become the fifth most powerful person in the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front.
Mnangagwa who had just lost his Kwekwe seat to little known Blessing Chebundo of the Movement for Democratic Change was rescued by Mugabe who appointed him Speaker of Parliament and then elevated him to party Secretary for Administration, the fifth most powerful post in ZANU-PF after Mugabe, his two-vice presidents and the national chairman.
Mnangagwa was one of the most feared people in the ruling party because of his reputation as an “enforcer” but this, United States officials said, would play to his advantage to hold ZANU-PF together.
Embassy officials felt that if Mnangagwa became president he would be just as dictatorial as Mugabe but Raftopoulos believed that he would be even more ruthless than Mugabe.
Former politburo member Sikhanyiso Ndlovu also felt that Mnangagwa was not liked in the party because of his ruthlessness.
He described Mnangagwa as a hardliner “through and through” and said given a choice, the politburo would select Sydney Sekeramayi to succeed Mugabe.
Below are the Wikileaks cables that mention Mnangagwa’s name.
Continued next page