Higher Education Minister Jonathan Moyo who has been at the forefront of insisting on one centre of power- meaning President Robert Mugabe- wants Mugabe to hang on because he has no chance of succeeding the ageing leader.
That was the reason given 14 years ago as the debate for Mugabe’s successor heated up just a year after Mugabe had been elected president for a six-year term.
According to a cable released by Wikileaks, the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front politburo had reportedly concluded that any successor to Mugabe must meet two basic requirements: enjoy significant acceptance in all provinces, and be acceptable to the Ndebele in the South.
“The two names most frequently mentioned as presidential successors are Speaker of Parliament Emmerson Mnangagwa, Mugabe’s clear favorite, and former Finance Minister Simba Makoni; but neither of them cleanly fit the bill,” the cable dispatched in July 2003 says.
“Because of his involvement in the Matebeleland massacres of the 1980s, Mnangagwa cannot pass muster with the Ndebele. In addition, he is feared and mistrusted by many ZANU-PF insiders, including his arch-rival (and former ZAN/ZANLA Commander) Solomon Mujuru, for his ruthlessness.
“For his part, Makoni is the darling of the donors, popular with the more liberal-minded, and acceptable to many in the MDC. However, he comes from Manicaland and lacks a broad constituency base in Mashonaland rural areas and is anathema to pro-Mugabe hard-liners for his commitment to reform and his conciliatory political views.”
Other potential successors worth mentioning included Defense Minister Sidney Sekeremayi, who had considerable politburo support, and retired Army General Solomon Mujuru.
“The former suffers from a reputation for personal weakness, while the latter is widely considered too rough-edged and uneducated to handle the job. In Mujuru’s case, he seems more interested in being kingmaker than the king.
“The very ambitious Minister of Information Jonathan Moyo, an Ndebele, is widely disliked in party circles. His dependence upon the patronage of Mugabe is such that he appears determined to block or delay any moves toward Mugabe’s departure, since Moyo himself is an unlikely dauphin,” the cable says.
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