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Zimbabwe: Emmerson Mnangagwa – the Crocodile Who Never Understood Himself or the Waters


Ousted vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa sometimes called ‘Ngwena’ that means crocodile.


Sacked Zimbabwean Number 2 flees, no longer as clever as Many People believed

President Robert Mugabe’s firing of his deputy, accusing him of disloyalty, shocked Many Individuals. Considered One Of Zimbabwe’s liberation heroes, Manangagwa a.ok.a the Crocodile used to be assumed to be neatly-positioned to be successful his Ninety Three-year-previous boss. But a closer look at the Crocodile reveals a person with little strategic grab of Zimbabwe’s political chessboard controlled By Using the grandmaster Robert and his spouse Grace.

Emerson Mnangagwa’s uneventful expulsion from the federal government seems to point out that the Crocodile, as He Is recognized, didn’t be aware itself during the lengthy length of its stay in the deep waters. It Appears That Mnangagwa pursued his agenda to prevail Mugabe on the root of the myths about him circulating in the public domain. It’s commonplace for folks to create and believe myths about a mountain they Never climbed, which they see from a distance. They May Be Able To see smoke Where There Is none. However, unquestionably, those who keep just about the mountain (and once in a while climb and fetch wooden from it or tend their cattle there) will have to have the ability to debunk the myths. They must recognize that there are no unusual issues happening On The mountain. And in particular, It Is extraordinary for the mountain itself to create myths about itself and devoutly imagine in them. Mnangwagwa may have been any such mountain. Individuals far from it created myths, Folks round it created myths, and so did the mountain itself.

There Is no longer a vestige of doubt that Mnangagwa is one of the heroes of Zimbabwe’s liberation fight. Whether Or Not throughout the ruling ZANU-PF or outdoor the birthday celebration, He Will be remembered for his contribution to the liberation struggle. And, in fact, He’ll even be remembered for his dark hand within the post-independence state. Mnangwagwa has walked an extended ride. Along the trip, many issues have been mentioned about him. These integrated that he used to be a cruel, strategic, wise, composed, highly effective and “untouchable” baby-kisser. Many Of people who find themselves no longer in the corridors of power and are not (higher) informed about the “inside of” of ZANU-PF held a mythicized notion of the Crocodile. Almost Certainly unknown to them was once that they claimed to know a creature they in reality had no data of. Mnangagwa rose to vice president in 2014 following Joyce Mujuru’s expulsion. Many Individuals believed that the expulsion of Mujuru was straightforward for President Mugabe As A Result Of Mujuru used to be powerless, especially taking into account that her husband had now not most effective died, But had died Beneath suspicious circumstances. After his ascendancy, Mnangagwa endured to struggle within the succession trenches Below the banner group “Lacoste”.

On The Other Hand, his ambitions were antagonistic By Using the G40 faction. There Have Been moments when Mnangagwa gained ground and when it seemed that he was going to take over from President Mugabe. Many People idea that President Mugabe would now not handle Mnangagwa in the same approach he dealt with Joyce Mujuru in 2014 because of the belief that he had enhance within the security institution. A Few Of Mnangagwa’s allies claimed that should President Mugabe name a successor instead of Mnangagwa, there would be a civil strife in Zimbabwe. It was in most cases believed that with give a boost to within the security establishment, Mnangagwa used to be able to staging a coup must the succession card have fallen within the palms of someone else.

When Jonathan Moyo fearlessly adverse Mnangagwa, many concept that the professor used to be a daredevil, that he used to be enjoying a dangerous sport. They questioned how Moyo, a man without roots either in ZANU-PF nor within the liberation battle, may problem the feared Crocodile. Now It Seems That Moyo used to be not careless After All. He had the information of a creature that had no self-understanding. He had fought for Mnangagwa sooner than, especially Right Through the Tsholotsho Statement. Mnangagwa didn’t attend Tsholotsho and when the plans failed, Moyo was expelled and he needed to fight for his political existence. Mnangagwa Never defended him.

The Crocodile remained within the waters when his personal ally used to be being savaged. From his expertise, Moyo may have known that the mountain, which individuals claimed was mysterious, was no longer mysterious at all. He knew that Mnangagwa used to be a proverbial owl, so he played the role of a proverbial nhengure the chook. When the other birds watched the proverbial nhengure fighting the owl, they thought that nhengure was once out of its mind. But to their shock, the owl, with its “horns” up, gave as much as the nhengure. However after all, the nhengure was getting its power from in other places. However inform no lies and declare no straightforward victories: It’s Not yet Uhuru for the proverbial nhengure.

The firing of Mnangagwa took Many People by surprise. Yesterday, President Mugabe had threatened to fireplace Mnangagwa “mangwana chaiye” (even the next day). The Next day, President Mugabe deliberate a press conference. Alternatively, we soon heard that the conference had been postponed. Relying On the belief that Mnangagwa had armed forces backing, Many Individuals claimed that the postponement used to be since the safety institution had warned President Mugabe against firing Mnangagwa. Then Again, proper to his phrase and in typical Machiavellian fashion, President Mugabe fired Mnangagwa that very day (6 November 2017).

When the news that Mnangagwa had been fired started to spread like wildfire, Many Individuals idea that, being the Crocodile he was, Mnangagwa would now not go down and not using a battle. To their shock, there used to be no response from the Crocodile. He simply took the punishment silently. Right Through the succession struggle, There Were moments when Mnangagwa was attacked, repeatedly By Way Of “little birds” which will have been acting on orders from the top, But he remained silent. Others recognized his silence as cowardice while others perceived it as strategic and sensible. But when he was fired and remained silent, the silence used to be now not interpreted as shrewdness But as weak point. It was on this context that people started to ask the query: was once the Crocodile real? And, of course, the majority view is that the Crocodile used to be merely a Delusion.

What may Mnangagwa have executed in a different way?

I argue that Mnangagwa’s fall (at least for now) used to be as a result of the his failure to have in mind the three pillars of succession politics in ZANU-PF. These are: the candidate in quest of to prevail Mugabe (on this case Mnangagwa himself – particularly his internet power, capabilities and incapabilities), Robert and beauty Mugabe, and the succession terrain itself. With Regards To himself, Mnangwagwa is a Crocodile which may have relied on myths slightly than a concrete and clear figuring out of itself. When It Comes To the Mugabes, Mnangagwa didn’t understand that President Mugabe is a student of Machiavellian politics. The for the reason that Mnangagwa won floor in some cases used to be that Mugabe pretended to be vulnerable to be able to Give him the room to err so that he may crush the Crocodile’s head. Mugabe needed grounds to rationalise his strike, especially considering that Mnangagwa has been with him for a few years. And Mnangagwa gave him the grounds.

At one level, Mnangagwa was once pictured keeping a mug with the inscription “I AM BOSS”. When he attended the memorial of Shuvai Mahofa, his speech indicated any person who used to be confident of victory. He promised that the tip can be characterised By the gnashing of teeth. Like these people who are living far from the mythicized mountain, Mnangagwa ended up believing the parable that Mugabe used to be terrified of him. He didn’t discover the snare and he walked proper into it with an enormous smile. Mnangagwa might also have fallen sufferer to the considered entitlement given his liberation credentials, seniority and long walk with Mugabe. The Issue is that this does not work, particularly when you dream of succeeding a student of Machiavellian politics.

On The Subject Of the succession terrain, Mnangagwa did not take classes from the autumn of Mujuru. Sure, he could have played an instantaneous or oblique role within the fall of Mujuru However, without a doubt, There Have Been lessons to be learnt. The Teachings are that It Is A terrain which one has to show loyalty to the president, even if it approach pretending. It’s A terrain The Place you must put your head down and lift it most effective whilst you received grasp of it. It Is A terrain through which you pursue your succession combat by means of the interests of the Mugabes. G40 is a faction However Mugabe didn’t look at it as one Because it serves his interests. Grace claimed that she inquired But discovered no proof of the existence of G40. Mnangagwa did not take these classes. Almost Definitely it was once because of vanity. He believed that he used to be made of various subject material from Mujuru. But It has grew to become out to not be so, at least for now.

Given the aforesaid three pillars, I argue that there were two choices that may have introduced totally different outcomes for Mnangagwa. When Grace Mugabe used to be attacking Joyce Mujuru, There Were moments when she spoke extremely of Mnangagwa. In The Future, she mentioned that Mnangagwa commonplace the choice made Via President Mugabe to permit Joyce Mujuru to be elevated to vice president although many provinces had supported Mnangagwa’s ascendancy. Grace exhibited the view that Mnangagwa was any individual who used to be loyal to Mugabe, who used to be ready to offer away what was rightfully his for the sake of listening to his boss. It was this viewpoint of Mnangagwa that gave her the incentive to strengthen his ascendancy to vice president in 2014.

I argue that Choice one used to be for Mnangagwa to completely disband his Lacoste faction (as soon as he had been appointed vice chairman) and take a look at as much as he might to be loyal to President Mugabe. It’s proper that By Means Of that time, he had already been tainted By the legacy of factionalism. Alternatively, this strategy was once going to sanitize his prior errors and take him back on the route of unrivalled loyalty to President Mugabe. Finally, his chief rival, Joyce Mujuru, had already been soundly defeated. Actually, the fall of Mujuru and his elevation gave Mnangagwa the opportunity to pursue his goals By Different approach. A clever baby-kisser is aware of when to play a special card. He can have started to champion the anti-factionalism card. Taking Advantage Of his long walk with Mugabe, he can have projected himself as the unrivaled loyal cadre. By Using elevating him, Mugabe had verified generosity. Mnangagwa was supposed to return the generosity By Means Of disbanding Lacoste. A good politician workouts selfish generosity. And Naturally, the elevation may have been a tactical trap. Mugabe will have expanded him with a view to Give him the gas to carelessly and confidently raise his % in the succession agenda. Unbeknown to him was once that Mugabe can have needed Mnangagwa to be considered as preventing Mugabe himself. Mugabe would now not want an unchecked Mnangagwa. With Mujuru out of the way in which, Mugabe can have created G40 and, in fact, Mnangagwa was once certain to come to a checkmate point. He used to be no longer fighting G40; he was once in a fight towards Mugabe.

The importance of Choice one is that it might have made it troublesome for the G40 faction to emerge in the first location. However even though it were to emerge, the option was going to preempt G40 Through making it tough for it to play him in opposition to Mugabe. G40 used to be strategic in that it did not search for a candidate away from The First domestic. The technique used to be to make it possible for Mnangagwa would be preventing in opposition to Mugabe, as a rule without his information. It also made it possible for Mugabe to combat the unsuspecting Mnangagwa using the proverbial little birds. From Time To Time Mugabe scolded his personal birds with the intention of deceiving. Choice one used to be additionally going to make it tough for Grace to aspire to ascend the ZANU-PF ladder in advance of Mnangagwa. She Almost Definitely used to be going to be content with rising to vice chairman, with Mnangagwa succeeding Mugabe. Despite The Fact That Mugabe might nonetheless now not have chosen Mnangagwa as his successor, at the least he was once no longer going to fireplace him. Every Now And Then it is very important make sure that you remain within the battlefield, even in a susceptible place. Because which you can all the time (re)strategise and fight another day. However if you find yourself solid out, There Is Most Probably no extra chance to battle.

Possibility two was once to keep his Lacoste faction as a power reserve But make sure that it functions from underground. It was once speculated to be as invisible as imaginable. In Different phrases, the faction can have endured to exist But in a mythical type than an open fact. He would use the faction very hardly and best in situations The Place it was completely essential to launch a defensive or offensive. It was once supposed to completely come out most effective At The most defining moment of the succession combat, the moment when the purple line had to be crossed. A mythical Lacoste would have made it straightforward for Mnangagwa to deny any accusations about factionalism. It was not going to provide Mugabe reasonable grounds to fireside Mnangagwa. It was going to make it possible for Mnangagwa to faux to be loyal to Mugabe with a level of trustworthiness. An “open Lacoste” made it difficult for him to claim loyalty to Mugabe, especially when one of the contributors openly challenged Mugabe.

These choices have been imagined to be backed By Way Of a clear, concrete and adaptable technique. G40 had Jonathan Moyo in its strategy room However Lacoste had nobody. Actually, there was once no technique room to talk about for Lacoste. It used to be just the Crocodile Delusion that was purported to do the job for them. Myths can work, But handiest as long as the birds imagine that the “horns” on the owl’s head are ears. But when the proverbial chicken comes out, the ears won’t ever turn into horns. The owl is certain to flee, from time to time with out placing up a fight. Mnangagwa wanted to be patient As A Result Of his energy was vested in time. He needed to ensure that he used to be no longer compelled out of the water – and each the aforesaid options were in a position to try this job. But sadly, his strategy pressured him out of doors the waters. The question is: will he return?

It Is cold outside ZANU-PF

For the Crocodile, ZANU-PF represented a deep sea in which to strategise. The Most Important question in the intervening time is, if the Crocodile failed act actual to form while within the deep waters, will he do better when He’s out of doors the waters? Mnangagwa is on file pointing out that as soon as any one goes out of ZANU-PF, They’ll shrivel like a leaf fallen from a tree. In simple phrases, he intended that It Is tough to politically and economically continue to exist outside ZANU-PF. There’s that means to this declare. There are numerous instances of people who fell on onerous instances after their expulsion from ZANU-PF. The “It Is cold outdoor ZANU-PF” banner has a monitor record. It Can Be tracked again to Edgar Tekere when he used to be expelled in October 1988. Tekere moved to kind the Zimbabwe Solidarity Motion in 1989. ZANU-PF made each effort to ensure that Tekere fell. And without a doubt, Tekere By No Means made it outside ZANU-PF. ZUM collapsed and his economic fortunes collapsed too. It Is A two-pronged “coverage” with a “warm” and a “chilly” aspect. It’s used at both the elite and the mass ranges. The “chilly aspect” has two sides, a “hard” one and a “soft” one. It Is used to care for cadres who would were expelled or suspended from the party.

On The elite degree, the “hard aspect” is used to pauperise former comrades By Way Of confiscating their corruptly-acquired sources of income similar to farms and business ventures. Comrades are allowed to be corrupt on condition that they are loyal to the one centre of power. Once they are expelled for disloyalty, the impunity is lifted. A Bunch of costs, together with witchcraft, can be levelled in opposition to the previous cadre. The cadre will probably be put Underneath constant watch and the threats of imprisonment and physical insecurity will likely be ever present, especially if he/she becomes a vocal critic of ZANU-PF. If the expelled cadre was once as influential as Mnangagwa or Mujuru, the onerous facet will probably be prolonged to his/her allies. On The mass level, birthday party deserters and critics, and With The Aid Of extension opposition supporters, are intentionally excluded from access to tools. In Addition They transform victims of all kinds of abuse.

The “delicate side” is on a regular basis characterised By Means Of demotions and reduced get right of entry to to tools. Then Again, the “warm” facet encourages corruption. At The elite degree, party cadres are allowed to be corrupt, so long as they continue to be loyal. On The mass degree, loyalists are given preferential access to instruments equivalent to land, stall markets, residential stands, agricultural inputs and food handouts. State establishments are also wired to offer them first choice. The Principle distinction between the elite and the mass Relating To get right of entry to to resources is the “quality and amount of get admission to”.

Having been expelled, Mnangagwa shall be a victim of the arduous facet of this coverage. The struggle won’t end together with his expulsion. In Truth, the expulsion is the start of a long combat. Mnangagwa’s opponents need him to flee, even when no one pursues him. When the wind blows, he must assume that it’s ZANU-PF. One Of The Most strategies of President Mugabe is to “preserve the information” of his cadres. The “recordsdata” can’t be used against the cadres as long as they are loyal. Alternatively, the moment a particular carder has been expelled on accusations of disloyalty, actual and bogus information will probably be opened to be able to make fees against him/her. Severe prices are, subsequently, going to be made against Mnangagwa. He’ll don’t have any time to focus on his plans. Offensives will probably be launched in opposition to his financial empire. Lots Of his allies might be uprooted completely, others can be suspended, whereas some will be “reformed”, popular and accommodated. The agenda shall be to destroy his Lacoste faction root and branch. By The Point that ZANU-PF will go to its out of the ordinary congress in December, the Lacoste faction will be nothing more than ruins, But there will probably be resilient species. There’s No doubt that the Crocodile will to find it chilly outdoor ZANU-PF. However some other major question is: can he flip the cold into heat?

Where must the Crocodile go from here?

Mnangagwa faces difficult options. The Primary main hurdle is his age. Given that he is 75 years outdated, an early opportunity to upward thrust to the presidential position would have been ideal for him. Now that he is amidst the political wilderness, if He Is still interested, it way starting any other long and robust combat. It’s Not palatable to start any such combat On The age of 75. What makes it troublesome is that he can no longer struggle from within ZANU-PF and even from within Zimbabwe. He’ll therefore battle from a very weak position. Alternatively, he can nonetheless battle if he wishes.

There are principally four methods the Crocodile can take. The Primary would be to kind a political celebration. The time may be very strategic As A Result Of elections are across the corner. On The Other Hand, with out Other opposition events, He’ll be of little importance as the case of Joyce Mujuru has already taught us. He will have to work with Other parties, particularly in a coalition. On The Other Hand, he can’t go into a coalition and declare to be the face of the fight.

He should deputize anyone. However The delight that he is a liberation hero and that he has been in energy for the earlier 37 years may just stand in the way in which. His history will at all times be considered with suspicion and even hate in the trenches of opposition politics. However he has a massive constituency of sympathizers who may also be was supporters. The Most Important impediment to Choice one is that He Will handiest take it At The pleasure of ZANU-PF. ZANU-PF would not need him to be a danger any more. The party would use actual and bogus “files” towards him to the point that he is also convicted and imprisoned. Even Though he might not be imprisoned, ZANU-PF will make sure that the “recordsdata” are always striking from above his head. The technique can be to make him are living in a continuing state of concern. He is also compelled to flee the usa and strategise from the diaspora.

The second method can be merely to retire from energetic politics and center of attention on Other pursuits. But The Problem is that he comes from the school of thought which says that politics is a tree and a flesh presser is a leaf. He Will take time to recuperate from likening himself to a leaf which has fallen from the tree. The Advantage Of This Option is that it makes ZANU-PF to consider him a risk no more. This Will Likely discourage the birthday celebration from making and taking further threats towards him. It Is Going To sheathe its swords into ploughshares. He would enjoy a peaceable existence a long way from the political terrain which handled him harshly. However, The Issue with This Selection is that Mnangawa would not need to retire as a bitter and wounded sufferer, let on my own of the proverbial little birds which engineered his fall. The humiliation he suffered reversed his legacy within the twinkle of an eye. He would no doubt want to die with a fight as a substitute of going together with his disgrace. But combating for the sake of retribution would no longer be a excellent step.

The 1/3 method can be to feign “political depart” whereas ready for the departure of President Mugabe (if He Will be fortunate sufficient to live beyond Mugabe’s time). The submit-Mugabe technology may just existing alternatives for him. It’s tough to look a successor who will be capable of maintain ZANU-PF united and robust after President Mugabe is gone. Additionally It Is clear that many ZANU-PF supporters and leaders are aiding the upward thrust of Grace Mugabe with their lips However their hearts are seething with disgruntlement. They Are Going To battle for an inconvenient transition whereas conserving the view that the succession plan was now not treated in response to the foundations of the celebration. They Will really feel that it was hijacked With The Aid Of novices. After Mugabe is long gone, the discontentment may have an opportunity to vent, giving room for the Crocodile to take a look at and address a historical mistake.

The fourth and difficult means can be to go the red line and launch a shielding-offensive. Why must he no longer achieve this when his opponents have crossed it already? This Selection is characterised By Means Of mobilising his enhance base, particularly battle veterans and elements in the safety establishment, to withstand and take a look at to reverse his expulsion. Despite The Fact That the make stronger base has been, and can be further, weakened, there would all the time be resilient leftovers, both energetic and passive. For the leftovers to have any affect, they would wish charismatic, courageous and “sacrificial” leadership. The Most Important problem for This Feature is that it will get out of hand and result in the loss of lives and livelihoods. I, therefore, argue that whereas the Crocodile has been compelled out of water, It Is Not wise to fully rule out his doable return into the waters.

I also argue that just like the Crocodile, Grace is gaining ground the usage of a borrowed garment. In politics, It Is safer to have one’s personal garment. It’ll remain to be seen if she would have the ability to mend her personal. If she fails, the day that the borrowed garment shall be taken away will mark the autumn of her political fortunes. There’s room that Grace can result in the same place as Mnangagwa or even worse. The query just isn’t Whether Or Not Grace would upward push to vice president and in the end President, However Whether Or Not the rise will remaining. If it lasts, a good way to be a outstanding upward thrust for her. But she should at all times put together for the worst.

I want the Crocodile neatly. Possibly with some sheer accident, there might be water in the future. Let him wake up and brew the beer. But When the ancestors would not be generous sufficient to supply water over again, Mnangagwa will go away the footprints and legacy, no longer of a liberation hero, But of a proverbial Crocodile.

MOSES TOFA is a pupil and political analyst. He’s completing a PhD in Politics and World Relations At The University of Johannesburg. 

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