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Vol 50 No 24

Published 4th December 2009


Zimbabwe

Faint heart never beat stout lady in the ruling party

Joice Mujuru’s victory in ZANU-PF’s leadership election could encourage more pragmatism as pressure mounts for Mugabe’s exit

Emmerson Mnangagwa is nicknamed 'the Crocodile' partly for his ability to snap after long periods of log-like but watchful inertia. In November's election for the Praesidium of the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF), the croc seemed to have mislaid his dentures and the followers of Joice Mujuru skipped off with the prizes. Mnangagwa has long been regarded as the leading contender for the succession but whenever his ambitions became too blatant, President Robert Mugabe firmly knocked him back and neutralised his supporters. Notable cases occurred after the ill-fated Tsholotsho Declaration in 2004, which led to the eclipse of Professor Jonathan Moyo (recently reinstated), and the rumoured manhandling of Mnangagwa himself last year by the Central Intelligence Organisation. His caution was portrayed as strength but the Praesidium elections, which required decisive nimbleness, have unmasked it as a flat-footed flaw.

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