THE opposition People's Democratic Party (PDP) has trashed alleged attempts by the West to impose Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa as a compromise successor to President Robert Mugabe.
The party has further scorned recent comments by author and academic Stephen Chan suggesting that both the West and the East favoured a stable post-Mugabe era which was best guaranteed by Mnangagwa's political stature.
Chan said, during a policy dialogue forum, that any politician who enjoyed significant grassroots support and demonstrated potential to bring Zanu PF's opposition forces together would enjoy the support of both the West and the East.
But the statements have infuriated ex-finance minister Tendai Biti's party which insists that crisis-weary Zimbabweans can do better with political leaders who were not tainted by the Zanu PF led regime's past transgressions.
"The People's Democratic Party is opposed to the notion that Zimbabweans are supposed to accept mediocrity just to buy stability," said PDP in a Sunday statement.
PDP described the pro-Mnangagwa statements as gullible.
"It is important to note that the current crisis in Zimbabwe is not only a crisis of instability but largely a making of incompetence, corruption, evil governance strategies, policy inconsistence and lack of care by the Zimbabwean government," said the party.
"The balance sheet of strong man leadership has proved beyond doubt that it cannot be the bread and butter of stability.
"Where there is undemocratic practices and economic failure the masses are bound to revolt, the case of Gaddafi in Libya is testimony to our argument."
The opposition party is adamant the Zanu PF regime, of which Mnangagwa has been a prominent member, has taken the country back to 1956 in terms of development.
Biti's party was citing ZIMSTAT's multi sector indicators report of 2014.
"We view the whole idea of the Zimbabwe-saving rhetoric as a disguised ploy to sneak Emmerson Mnangagwa into power through the back door," said PDP.
"The same people involved tried to fund the embattled Zanu PF through the LIMA process but the people of Zimbabwe stood resolute and fought until the cookie crumbled.
"The views of the people of Zimbabwe matter more than anything else, Zimbabweans have always expressed their dislike for Mnangagwa as a result he has not won any democratic election."
PDP accused Chatham House and other British institutions for being the biggest foreign proponents of a Mnangagwa presidency.
"While we respect their right to opinion we categorically state our opposition to any attempt to impose Mnangagwa or any other leader on Zimbabweans," said PDP.
"Their preferred choice of a strong man is not a strong man at all but a ruthless person who happens to dabble in elimination transactions therefore the false strongman theory does not apply."
The comments by the PDP follow similar remarks by MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai who has also rebuked alleged attempts by his party's former allies to do Mnangagwa's bidding at the expense of the passage democracy.
Mnangagwa's name has featured in the country's darkest human rights eras, among them, the killing of an estimated 20,000 civilians in Matebeleland and Midlands provinces in the early 1980s as well as the bloody 2008 presidential run-off poll which the MDC-T says killed over 200 of its followers.