CAJ News Agency (Johannesburg)

9 June 2014

Zimbabwe: Defence Minister in Line to Succeed Mugabe?

Photo: Gado/RNW
Introducing Zimbabwe's presidential candidate, Robert Mugabe.

Harare — ZIMBABWE Minister of Defence, Sydney Sekeramayi, has emerged as the frontrunner to succeed long-serving President Robert Mugabe.

Insiders close to the jostle to succeed the long-serving leader told CAJ News Mugabe was nurturing his defence minister to take over the reins when he retires from office probably before the 2018 presidential election.

It emerged Sekeramayi's re-appointment to his current post after last year's poll and subsequent cabinet appointment, put him in good stead to assume office ahead of Justice Minister, Emmerson Mnangagwa, and Vice President, Joyce Mujuru.

The duo has long been touted as candidates to succeed Mugabe amid reports of infighting within the ruling ZANU (PF) party.

Mugabe removed Emmerson Mnangagwa from defence ministry after the 2013 polls.

It is said he does not "trust" Mnangagwa.

"In Zimbabwean politics, when you don't have the backing of the military, police, CIO (Central Intelligence Organisation) and Zimbabwe Prison Service (ZPS), then you stand no chance. In the case of Sekeramayi, he has the blessings of Mugabe's army generals, police intelligence and prisons, a move that will prove difficult for both Joyce Mujuru (deputy president) and Mnangagwa to undo," said Murangami Muushe, a Harare political observer.

While other critics might argue that Mujuru could assume the presidency when Mugabe retires by virtue of being the deputy, the generals, who immensely benefited from the DRC (Democratic Republic of Congo) and Marange diamonds, would not allow anybody for that matter to stifle their wealth other than endorsing and anointing Sekeramayi to protect their "loot."

The generals are infamous for openly telling Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai that they would not endorse his election as he did not have liberation war credentials.

They threatened to overthrow any leader coming to power other than President Mugabe.

It is believed the generals would insist on similar action if Sekeramayi is challenged.

"From the look of things, it appears the Zimbabwe's next president is a done deal. From my point of view, I think Sekeramayi is preferred to Mujuru and Mnangagwa because he does not have a record in corruption and keeps a lower profile from the media.

"Most importantly, Sekeramayi is highly educated, more acceptable, intelligent and is patriotic than the duo," Isaiah Mutariri, a history teacher in the low density suburbs of Chitungwiza, said.

Others with an outside chance, according to sources, include Dydmus Mutasa and Professor Jonathan Moyo.

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