Shock Move As Mugabe Offers Dabengwa Vice-Presidency
Robert "The Solution" Mugabe is gunning for Dumiso Dabengwa (seen here with Simba Makoni in Bulawayo in February last year) to take over the vice-presidency left vacant by the death of VIce-president Msika. Mugabe spoke to Dabengwa for more than hour yesterday t o put the offer to him. They will also probably meet after the burial of Msika on Monday. Dabengwa has been invited to the funeral at Heroes Acre, as has Simba Makoni.
Harare, Zimbabwe, 08 August 2009
Robert "The Solution" Mugabe, in a shock move, has offered Dumiso Dabengwa the vice-presidency left vacant by death of John Msika.
Only a few minutes ago, I confirmed this with two senior ZANU PF and government officials.
Mugabe is said to have called Dabengwa yesterday and spent more than hour talking to him. Two emissaries have been dispatched to Bulawayo today to try and talk the former ZIPRA Commander into accepting the offer.
Mugabe, in explaining his motivations yesterday, said that, most importantly, he would like to be "flanked by fighters" in the ZANU PF presidium. He also mentioned the fact that John Nkomo, who many consider the logical choice, only got eminence during the late 1970s, when the Frontline States (Kaunda, Nyerere and others) pushed for a common front between Joshua Nkomo and Mugabe through the UANC of Bishop Muzorewa.
John Nkomo, the current ZANU PF chairman, was nominated by ZAPU to be their representative within Zimbabwe for the UANC.
Mugabe appears to be reluctant to confirm John Nkomo, to the extent that he even said that he would consider Simon Khaya Moyo, Zimbabwe's current ambassador to South Africa.
Khaya Moyo was Joshua Nkomo's aide during the Liberation War.
Mugabe told Dabengwa that it was he, Dabengwa, who had thrown ZANU PF away and that ZANU PF had never thrown him away. He pointed to the fact that the party has never formally expelled him.
Most interesting, though, is Mugabe's claim that Msika himself had explicitly said his wish would be for Dabengwa to take over from him. This he apparently said late in 2007 when he wanted to retire and was forced by Mugabe to stay on. Msika subsequently repeated this in the last few months of his life, apparently.
Mugabe is reported to have told the late Vice-president when he wanted to retire: "You can never quit a struggle." He still believes that he is fighting a "Third Liberation War".
Mugabe appears to have been hinting at his approach to Dabengwa during his speech at the Msika home on Wednesday night. He repeatedly told the gathering that Msika had wanted "unity" amongst the people and that he implored Mugabe to ensure that unity prevailed in the country.
Of course, we all know that Mugabe considers his unity with ZAPU to be almost sacrosanct and he thinks everyone should see it the same way, no matter what wrongs are being done.
Dabengwa is said to be reluctant, but we now all know about Mugabe's plotting and his seeming ability to resurrect himself from political ashes like the proverbial Phoenix.
Dabengwa himself knows that, were he to accept Mugabe's offer, he would lose credibility with his constituency.
As one speaker said to him during the Bulawayo meeting last year when Dabengwa endorsed Simba Makoni's bid for the presidency: "DD, we have always loved you, but we hated the jacket that you were now wearing (ZANU PF)".
Still, Dabengwa has been invited to the burial of Msika on Monday and Mugabe has already indicated that he will want to speak to the ZAPU leader again on that day, after the proceedings.
This is going to be an extremely interesting week, then.
The way ZANU PF operates, Mugabe chooses his own deputies and no one else really has any say in it. Once Mugabe makes his choice known, the party always falls in line behind him, endorsing his choice.