Dabbling in Zanu PF succession wars Langa’s biggest undoing

FORMER Sports minister and ex-Zanu PF Matabeleland South provincial chairman Andrew Langa must be cursing his political stars, as twice his fingers have been burnt by engaging in factionalism.

BY RICHARD CHIDZA

Langa should be a dazed man, as 10 years ago, he was almost kicked out of Zanu PF for backing Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa against his predecessor Joice Mujuru, but now he has been axed for backing, ironically, the latter against the former.

A fortnight ago, Langa was fired as Sports minister, months after being sacked as provincial chairman, for reportedly backing Mujuru, who was accused of plotting to unseat President Robert Mugabe.

This time tables were turned, as in 2004, Langa was again among senior Zanu PF officials and chairpersons suspended, with some expelled, in the aftermath of the infamous Tsholotsho Declaration made at Dinyane Primary School, where they endorsed Mnangagwa for the Vice-Presidency ahead of the favoured Mujuru.

Langa had to grovel and beg Mugabe to save his skin, even dragging a delegation of chiefs to the President to apologise on his behalf.

“He had to go to the extent of sending emissaries, including traditional leaders, to beg for forgiveness from Mugabe,” Southern Eye heard.

The then Zanu PF political commissar, the late Elliot Manyika, who was head of the ruling party’s election directorate ahead of the 2005 polls at the time, confirmed Langa had been pardoned.

“The national elections directorate has reversed suspension of comrades Abednego Ncube (Gwanda South) and Langa after a review of the recommendations from the provincial co-ordinating committee,” Manyika was quoted saying then, allowing Langa to contest the party’s primary elections.

In yet another twist of fate, Ncube was recently appointed to Cabinet.

Within a space of 10 years, Langa has seemingly changed who he supported in Zanu PF, but each time he ends on the losing side, as the gods of politics seem to turn their back on him each time.

University lecturer Lawton Hikwa said Langa’s litany of “gaffes relating to pronouncements on Zanu PF’s succession issue could be his biggest undoing”.

“You will remember that last year as jostling for the Vice-Presidency reached fever pitch, Langa was one of very few chairpersons to publicly declare that Matabeleland South had chosen Simon Khaya Moyo, then national chairman of the party, to succeed John Nkomo as the country’s Vice-President,” he noted.

“Although I do not think his political star has waned to the level that he is useless even at provincial level, these are policy issues that I think were above his level to make declarations on.

“Remember the debate around who should represent the Zapu side of Zanu PF in the Presidency was not so clean and some people were left bruised and battered. It could be the genesis of his current predicament.”

Khaya Moyo lost out to eventual Vice-President Phelekezela Mphoko, despite him being the overwhelming favourite ahead of the party’s December congress.

“Our problem could be, it is difficult to really point out why the President appoints and dis-appoints people because we just wake up and somebody is either a minister or has been dis-appointed,” Hikwa said.

“However, it is fair to say given the prevailing circumstances and reports of factional divisions, Langa could be a victim of the internal feuds.”

Once again Langa finds himself in the political wilderness, forced off his position as provincial leader and expelled from Cabinet.

But as with 2004, it might be too soon to write off Langa, or maybe he has shown his hand too soon, ending his Zanu PF political career.

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