EVEN as President Robert Mugabe was clearly struggling to walk, pausing every few seconds for breath at the Heroes Acre on Saturday, Jonathan Moyo was taking issue with an unguarded remark by Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa regarding the Zanu PF leader’s age.
Clearly aware that Mugabe’s biological clock may be ticking its last, the veteran leader’s wife Grace last week said Zimbabweans would miss the 91-year-old when he is gone.
But when Mnangagwa, in an interview with the UK-based New African magazine made similar remarks, Moyo took to Twitter to criticise the vice president.
“We shall miss him (Mugabe) dearly. He is an outstanding leader and human being,” said Mnangagwa in the interview last week.
And it was the hint of an impending end which appeared to grate with Moyo.
Said the higher education minister: “VP Mnangagwa on President Mugabe: ‘We shall miss him dearly’. Rather premature to say!”
Told by a follower that Mnangagwa was simply “accepting the inevitable”, Moyo was adamant.
He said: “The inevitable is the truth of everyone & so there is no telling who is going to die before who!”
Another follower insisted: “… death comes to us all, nd wen it does, 2day/50yrs from now, you guys will miss him.”
Moyo responded: “Of course death is certain but how does anyone know who is going to die first & therefore who is going to miss who?”
Sections of the ruling Zanu PF party have been keen to project the idea that Mnangagwa is now in pole position to take over from Mugabe and that he may, as first deputy, even be the veteran leader’s preferred successor.
But Moyo has used media interviews to make clear that Mnangagwa is merely one of Mugabe’s two assistants, adding that his chances of taking over are as good as those of any other party member.
His interventions have been seen as suggesting that he may not be not overly enthused with the idea of a Mnangagwa presidency, a claim Moyo denies.
In his interview with the New African, Mnangagwa admitted that the succession contest was still open to all party members, adding his position as vice president does not privilege his chances over other party members.
I told you so, said Moyo on Twitter.
“Cde Mnangagwa says his VP job is to assist Pres Mugabe,” he wrote.
“When I said precisely this, successionists wanted to kill me!