Zimbabwe: VP Sleeps With One Eye Open, Literally

President Emmerson Mnangagwa, flanked by Zimbabwe’s Ambassador to South Africa Cde Isaac Moyo (third from left), Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister Retired Lieutenant-General Sibusiso Busi Moyo (right), Transport and Infrastructural Development Minister Joram Gumbo (second from left), and Industry, Commerce and Enterprise Development Minister Mike Bimha, meets his South African counterpart President Jacob Zuma and government officials at the Zimbabwe Embassy in Pretoria, South Africa, yesterday.
2 November 2017

Zanu-PF's internal power struggles seem to have spilled into uncharted territory, even breaking the decorum of sacred periods such as time for prayer.

The picture of Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa deep in prayer but with literally one eye open during the burial of little known national hero Don Muvhuti Wednesday sent social media into meltdown.

Taken by photojournalist Philemon Bulawayo, the image was an iconic illustration of how dangerous the Zanu PF "game of thrones" has become.

Mnangagwa was sitting at the high table with President Robert Mugabe on his immediate left while First Lady Grace sat next to the Zanu PF leader.

The vice president appeared acutely aware of danger lurking in Zimbabwe's political minefield and knows what can happen.

He was captured seemingly watching his boss with his left eye as if to make sure the aged autocrat does not get up to "new mischief" while others prayed.

Two months ago, Mnangagwa was airlifted to South Africa after an "assassination" attempt in which he reportedly ingested poison at a rally in Gwanda south west of the country's second largest city of Bulawayo.

The VP's allies claimed he had been poisoned through ice cream from Mugabe's Gushungo Holdings, sending the 93-year-old into angry palpitations and forcing his deputy into the unusual move of revealing his medical records as well as issuing a public statement denying ever taking ice cream on the day in question.

Mnangagwa is engaged in a bitter succession scrap with Grace Mugabe who has publicly and savagely attacked the vice president.

Grace is linked to the G40 Zanu PF faction which is determined to stop Mnangagwa and his so-called Lacoste faction taking over after Mugabe.

Although thought to have her own presidential ambitions, Grace and her G40 allies have lately touted defence minister Sydney Sekeramayi as a better succession prospect than Mnangagwa.

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