HARARER – Emmerson Mnangagwa threw the gauntlet to Zanu PF rivals on Wednesday after the Zanu PF Youth League, at a meeting where the President was going to speak, voiced support for his re-election run in 2023.
Mnangagwa’s run for President in 2023 is not a settled matter within Zanu PF, with Vice President Constantino Chiwenga reported to be weighing a challenge.
Youth League secretary Lewis Matutu, a key Mnangagwa ally, used the wing’s national youth assembly meeting in Harare to send out a warning to Chiwenga that they were supporting Mnangagwa for a second term.
Matutu asked provincial leaders of the League to each chant “2023 ED pfee!” – a clear reference to the next election at the expiry of the current term.
Zanu PF Patriots, a pro-Mnanagwa Twitter account, said the slogan was a “defiance of those that may be whispering in the corridors that the President will serve for only one term.”
Chiwenga, currently on sick leave, was not present as the youths chanted support for Mnangagwa, the man he helped come into power last November through a military coup. Then, Chiwenga was commander of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces.
The two men are believed to have made a pact that one will succeed the other, but following Mnangagwa’s dismal showing in the July 30 elections in which he barely made it past 50 percent of the vote, according to official results, Chiwenga and his supporters feel the Zanu PF leader is unpopular with the people and could be a liability in 2023.
Mnangagwa, who had poor poll numbers compared to Zanu PF MPs, told the youths that the party had won “resoundingly”, adding: “We are proud to serve our people. Those making noises must simply be ignored. Their case died at the Constitutional Court.”