Mnangagwa vs Mugabe, distrust and political hits: roots of Zim's crisis run deep

Zimbabwean academic and historian Dr Miles Tendi says tensions between Robert Mugabe and Emmerson Mnangagwa date back to the 1970s.

Two weeks ago, President Mugabe fired his vice president, Mnangagwa, purportedly to make way for his wife Grace.

The army then seized control of the capital city, Harare last week, and Zanu-PF sacked Mugabe from the ruling party over the weekend.

Zanu-PF has now resolved to impeach 93-year-old Mugabe, after 37 years at the head of the sub-Saharan country.

But how did Zimbabwe arrive at this crossroads?

Dr Tendi says, despite serving as Mugabe's special assistant during the liberation war in 1977, Mnangagwa was not Mugabe's first choice for successor.

They worked closely for more than 40 years, but Mugabe has never fully trusted Mnangagwa, Tendi explains.

Mnangagwa has been a key figure in attempts to remove Mugabe since the 90s, along with former army commander General Solomon Mujuru who died in 2011.

Mujuru died in a house fire and there has been speculation that his death was a political hit.

After his controversial death, his wife and Zimbabwe's former deputy president, Joice Mujuru, was fired from office in 2014.

Although Mugabe used Mnangagwa to effectively accomplish various political tasks, he was uneasy and distrustful of him.

Dr Miles Tendi, author and Lecturer in the Department of International Development at Oxford University

They worked together, but it was never really a close relationship.

Dr Miles Tendi, author and Lecturer in the Department of International Development at Oxford University

There are all these back stories; assassinations, distrust from the 1970s at play. It's all part of history.

Dr Miles Tendi, author and Lecturer in the Department of International Development at Oxford University

There's been a long struggle succession to get Mugabe out.

Dr Miles Tendi, author and Lecturer in the Department of International Development at Oxford University

Tendi argues that the Zimbabwean army is not entirely behind Mnangagwa, and adds that Grace Mugabe is not the root of the current political climate.

The army is very much a divided institution. Part of the divisions are around the 2011 assassination of Solomon Mujuru.

Dr Miles Tendi, author and Lecturer in the Department of International Development at Oxford University

I'm worried about the military... What the army has done is not just about removing Mugabe. There are various plans they have.

Dr Miles Tendi, author and Lecturer in the Department of International Development at Oxford University

Listen to his in-depth, riveting analysis on the situation in Zim:


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