Can Chipadze Stadium seal Mnangagwa's fate?

Can Chipadze Stadium seal Mnangagwa's fate?
Published: 13 September 2017 (229 Views)
In October 2014, First Lady Grace Mugabe made the most famous statement "resign now or I will baby dump you" to then Vice-President Joice Mujuru in Bindura's Chipadze Stadium.

The statement opened some floodgates to unrestrained attacks on Mujuru, who was President Robert Mugabe's deputy for 10 years, and her perceived Gamatox allies until they were fired from the only party they had known since pre-independent Zimbabwe.

Exactly three years on, Grace was back at the same stadium to launch an unrestrained tirade against Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who until recently looked an obvious Mugabe shoo-in.

"When I warned Mujuru, she thought I was mad, but where is she now?" that blunt warning from Grace to Mnangagwa will continue to reverberate to many who have watched the Zanu-PF women's league boss' victims spiral since she joined active politics in 2014.

The graveyard of former Zanu-PF members who succumbed to Grace's radical politics continues to grow unabated if the developments at Mugabe's Bindura youth interface rally last Saturday were anything to go by.

The attack on the invincible Mnangagwa before a capacity crowd of party supporters has triggered the big question: Can the symbolic Chipadze Stadium mark the beginning of the end of the shrewd tactician?

While the characters have changed, political analyst Alexander Rusero said Grace's script on Mujuru remained largely the same one being used on Mnangagwa, warning underestimating Grace's utterances and intentions as a risky business.

"The Bindura rally is symbolic because this was where the script to remove Mujuru was played out. We cannot rule out a repeat of the same on Mnangagwa, only that this time the characters have changed," Rusero said.

"Mnangagwa is a survivor, who survived the Tsholotsho debacle and more plots. He is a bit cunning and he will benefit from the fact that Mugabe will not want to fire him for fear that he will join the opposition. Mugabe will simply decimate his support base and leave him hanging."

Rusero said all that Grace did was to demystify that Mnangagwa had the power and was untouchable.

At the weekend, Grace tore into Mnangagwa, accusing him of faking love for Mugabe who appointed him by dining with people fired from the party for denigrating the President.

She warned him of going the Mujuru way if he failed to rein in his backers.

Mugabe's speech was conciliatory, but corroborated his wife's address by giving a history that suggested he was the one who took Mnangagwa to Zanu-PF in a speech that could insinuate that Mnangagwa's political fortune lay in his hand.

But Rusero said Mnangagwa was no pushover although developments in Zanu-PF would leave him a lame duck.

"Mujuru's power lay in Rex (General Solomon Mujuru – Joice's late husband). After the demise of her husband, she no longer had power. It's a different case with Mnangagwa. He will not be easy to remove, although the Bindura rally shows a sustained step towards that."

- newsday

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