In his statement during a radio interview this past Friday (14 June) President Emmerson Mnangagwa effectively ruled out the possibility of being succeeded by current Vice President Constantino Chiwenga.
Mnangagwa said that after him, Zimbabwe needs a young president to take over. Chiwenga has long been considered in line to succeed Mnangagwa following his successful execution of a coup that deposed former president Robert Mugabe.
From the Daily News:
The remark is being seen as a huge blow for the old guard in the ruling party, especially for Chiwenga who has previously been tipped to take over from Mnangagwa.
A former army commander, Chiwenga was instrumental in Mnangagwa’s ascendency to power in November 2017 after he led the soft coup that pushed former president Robert Mugabe out of office, ending his 37-year rule.
Despite the show of unity by the Zanu PF leadership during public gatherings, cracks are widening in the party between the Team Lacoste faction which dominates Mnangagwa’s inner circle and former army chefs who are largely loyal to Chiwenga.
To paper over the cracks, Zanu PF provinces have been declaring their undying support for Mnangagwa by campaigning for his candidacy in 2023.
In December last year, while at a rally, Chiwenga maintained that Mnangagwa is the ruling Zanu PF party’s sole presidential candidate for the 2023 polls, saying there is no vacancy for the post.
Despite the declaration, those privy to the goings-on in Zanu PF highlight simmering tensions between Mnangagwa and his deputy.