ZIMBABWEANS should brace for tough times ahead as President Robert Mugabe appointed Justice minister Emmerson Mnangagwa, long believed to be a hardliner, as his deputy, analysts said.
The purge of former Vice-President Joice Mujuru has seen hawkish members ascending in Zanu PF structures.
Among those who were elevated is Saviour Kasukuwere — another Zanu PF official believed to be a hardliner — who takes over the commissariat.
Kasukuwere gained notoriety during his time as the Indigenisation minister where he was seen as uncompromising in his drive to ensure that shareholders seized foreign companies ceding controlling stakes to locals.
Blessing Vava, a political analyst, said Zimbabweans should be worried with the appointment of Kasukuwere and others “who will resort to any means to retain their positions” judging from the way they pushed Mujuru out.
“Kasukuwere is one of the more radical elements in Zanu PF,” he said.
“But it will be a tall order for the party to convince the electorate basing on the recent performance of most of the people who were appointed. They are unpopular and it will only take violence, intimidation and rigging for Zanu PF to retain power with the new team.”
Kasukuwere, once described as Zimbabwe’s version of Julius Malema with his fiery threats to grab companies, has crossed swords with a number of government and Zanu PF officials.
Another political analyst, Takura Zhangazha, said Mugabe’s latest appointments were meant to ensure that he concentrated power around himself.
“Well, it does not really come as a surprise, especially after his party’s constitution was amended in order to grant him the power to appoint his two deputies,” he said.
“Those who he has appointed are probably in no doubt that they serve not only at his pleasure but also his mercy.
“The scrapping of the chairpersons’ post simply reduces centres of power and disputation leading to Mugabe’s greater consolidated control of his party.”
Vava concurred that Mugabe had tightened his grip on power and the appointments served this purpose.
“It’s not surprising and it was almost predictable that Mugabe is tightening screws, centralising power on himself, as prescribed by the Zanu PF constitution,” he said.
“However, by appointing Mnangagwa it seems Mugabe is now looking to the future and a successor after his departure.”