Mugabe rules out Mnangagwa: Wikileaks

Defence Minister, Emerson Mnangagwa is not on the list of President Robert Mugabe’s possible successors because of his ethnicity, according to a new revelation by Wikileaks.

Defence Minister, Emerson Mnangagwa
Defence Minister, Emerson Mnangagwa

It indicates that Mugabe, a Zezuru from Zvimba in Mashonaland Central, is reluctant to choose a Karanga as his successor, instead preferring a candidate from Manicaland or Matabeleland.

Mnangagwa hails from Zvishavane in the Midlands province. Since 2000, he has been touted as a possible successor to Mugabe and reportedly leads one of the factions in Zanu (PF).

His main rival is Joyce Mujuru, the current Vice President and second in seniority to Mugabe in Zanu (PF), but smaller factions have evolved in recent years, comprising the younger leaders, the military and those loyal to the president.

Wikileaks says the then South African Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Jeremiah Ndou, in 2000 told former US Ambassador to Harare, Joseph Sullivan, that Mugabe did not favour the Karangas.

“In the absence of a qualified Zezuru, it was more likely that a Manyika (a Shona speaker from Manicaland) like Simba Makoni or even a Ndebele would be chosen as a transitional leader,” says the cable.

“Succession, therefore, meant a transition from one Zanu (PF) president to another, but President Robert Mugabe was reluctant to choose a Karanga, like Emerson Mnangagwa, as a successor.”

Another Wikileaks cable lends credence to the claim that Mugabe views Mnangagwa with suspicion.

Released earlier this year, the cable revealed that Mugabe in 1998 frustrated Mnangagwa’s intention to land the post of Defence minister.

The cable claimed that the US embassy revealed that Mugabe was not comfortable giving the defence portfolio to a Karanga, and Mnangagwa ended up as the Justice Minister.

Sydney Sekeramayi, the former defence minister who is now in in charge of national security, and the ailing former Foreign Affairs Minister, Nathan Shamuyarira, reportedly played a crucial role in persuading Mugabe to deny Mnangagwa the ministry. Both Sekeramayi and Shamuyarira are Zezuru.

According to Wikileaks, Mnangagwa was so frustrated that he considered quitting politics to concentrate on his vast business empire.

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