Sacked Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Tuesday said he will constitutionally challenge President Robert Mugabe “by the will of the people”.
Mnangagwa spoke as he dismissed speculative reports that he was plotting to stage a coup d’etat against Mugabe, saying his plan was to constitutionally challenge the Zanu PF leader at the ruling party’s upcoming extraordinary congress.
However, his fight-back plan and desire to challenge Mugabe could have gone up in smoke after the ruling party last week launched a campaign to cull his allies from the central committee and influential provincial structures ahead of the December extra-ordinary congress.
The former Zanu PF strongman spoke as Nigerian cleric, Temitope Balogun Joshua popularly known as TB Joshua, in an address to his followers at his Scoan church last Sunday predicted turmoil and civil war in an unnamed Southern African country.
“Their (military) interest is to get rid of a President there, they will not tire, but their aim is to get rid of a President in that region in Southern Africa. I said it in January that a President will be kidnaped, Southern Africa people will remember if they are not going to misquote me, this time… I am saying a military, they are interested in embarrassing a President, that they kill him or kidnap him,” TB Joshua said at his service last Sunday.
Joshua added: “They are still on in that plan to kidnap either President or Vice-President of that nation or First Lady of that nation.”
But, yesterday, a source close to Mnangagwa claimed that the former VP had hoped to use his wide support base in the party’s central committee to challenge Mugabe’s dynasty plans, before he was kicked out of both government and the ruling party last week.
“The idea was to have him challenge Mugabe at congress and have party structures deliver a deadly blow on the dynasty that has now become Zanu PF, from there he hoped to get the mandate to lead the party into the 2018 general elections,” the source who, however, declined to disclosed Mnangagwa’s plan B, said.
Mnangagwa in a statement last Wednesday, soon after he skipped the country and sought refuge in neighbouring South Africa, declared that Mugabe and his cohorts would “leave by the will of the people”, but the remarks were viewed in government as a coup threat.
On Thursday, Zanu PF spokesperson, Simon Khaya Moyo indicated that State security agents were critically analysing Mnangagwa’s statement with a view to lay treason charges against him.
But, Mnangagwa loyalists yesterday said the charges were meant to thwart the former Vice-President’s next move by labelling him a criminal.
“This is a plot to block him from constitutionally participating in the political sphere in the country. What treason is committed by calling on the will of the people and asking the people to register to vote?” the source queried.
Following his expulsion last week, Mnangagwa vowed to come back to Zimbabwe in the next few weeks to “take control of the levers of power”.
“I will go nowhere. I will fight tooth and nail against those making a mockery against Zanu PF founding principles, ethos and values. You (Mugabe) and your cohorts will instead leave Zanu PF by the will of the people and this we will do in the coming few weeks as Zimbabweans in general now require new and progressive leadership that is not resident in the past and refuses to accept change,” he said.
He also called on his supporters not to ditch the party but remain holding forte, so that they could deliver a decisive blow on Mugabe.