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Zimbabwean Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa chats with Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe after his swearing in ceremony at State House in Harare, Dec, 12, 2014 (AP photo by Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi).

Despite Zimbabwe Purge, Mugabe Succession Still Far From Certain

Monday, Jan. 5, 2015

The open feuding within Zimbabwe’s ruling party, ZANU-PF, intensified last month, as rivals battled over the succession to 90-year-old President Robert Mugabe. This culminated in the dismissal by Mugabe of Vice President Joice Mujuru and her allies in the Cabinet, a move that handed Justice Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa the advantage in the succession race. Mnangagwa benefited from the support of the president’s wife, Grace Mugabe. With Mujuru apparently neutralized, the question is whether that alliance will hold, or whether it will be undermined by rival ambitions.

The purge of December 2014 still leaves a whole host of issues unresolved in Zimbabwe. Mnangagwa has now maneuvered himself into a highly advantageous position, but it is still unclear if he has Mugabe’s unambiguous blessing as successor. There has been considerable acrimony between the two in the past, to which both personal and intra-Shona ethnic tensions have contributed. ...

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