Rugare Gumbo rubbishes Mnangagwa seniority claim

The Zanu (PF) information and publicity secretary, Rugare Gumbo, has dismissed a recent party youth wing claim that Emmerson Mnangagwa, the legal affairs guru and Defence Minister , was second in seniority after Robert Mugabe, the First Secretary and President.

Rugare Gumbo
Rugare Gumbo

Mnangagwa is seen as leading a Zanu (PF) camp fiercely fighting with another led by Joice Mujuru, the current party deputy, to succeed Mugabe, 90 and in power for 34 years.

Edson Chakanyuka, the deputy Zanu (PF) youth league leader, reportedly introduced Mnangagwa as second to Mugabe during a belated 21st February Movement bash—held annually to honour the president’s birthday- at Kaguvi Training Centre in Gweru recently.

“He is our leader in the province (Midlands, where he hails from) and we don’t expect anyone else to come to this province and claim leadership. Our leader here (Mnangagwa) is only second to Mugabe. He has no other leaders ahead of him except Mugabe,” Chakanyuka said.

His claim followed a similar but separate one made by Victor Matemadanda, a Zanu (PF) central committee member and Mnangagwa loyalist.

While Mnangagwa responded to Chakanyuka’s remark by urging party supporters not to focus on individuals, the statement is seen as a deliberate ploy to test the waters ahead of the party’s elective congress in December.

“I have only read about that in the papers, but if it is true, these people who have a knack for making wild statements as they pursue their own ambitions must know that Zanu (PF) is clear on seniority.

“The top hierarchy or presidium comprises President Mugabe, followed by Mai Mujuru, then SK (Simon Khaya Moyo) as the national chairman, then Didymus Mutasa.

“All the misguided members who are making the blurred claims are nowhere near the top leadership. They might be in the politburo, central committee or hold influential positions somewhere, but we are not even looking at them,” said Gumbo, himself believed to belong to the Mujuru faction.

He said the party would wait for a formal report on the statements made by Chakanyuka before deciding on what action to take.

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