The full statement released by Stratfor this month:
Zimbabwe's Succession Plan Clarifies
Analysis JUNE 3, 2015 | 09:15 GMT Print Text Size
Questions about Zimbabwe's presidential succession have been clarified. According to Stratfor sources, Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa has taken on a larger role in the governance of the country and will likely take full control once 91-year-old Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe dies.
Competition over succession has tinted Zimbabwean politics for many years, but Mnangagwa has undertaken a larger role in ruling the country than has any preceding vice president or government leader: Former Vice President Joice Mujuru never had the amount of influence over state affairs that her successor now has. Mnangagwa, who also serves as minister of justice and who was formerly a minister of defense and chief of the country's intelligence organization, has experience and knowledge of Zimbabwe's security and economic affairs. He is also well versed in the politics of the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front party.
It was allegedly Mnangagwa's influence among the leaders of Zimbabwe's security forces that enabled the ruling party to maintain power against challenges by the Morgan Tsvangirai-led Movement for Democratic Change party following the disputed 2008 elections. Though Tsvangirai never held substantial authority, he became Zimbabwe's prime minister, settling the dispute over the election results. However, interference from Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front effectively undermined Tsvangirai, and his party made little headway. Ultimately, Mnangagwa's decision to deploy state security resources to fortify the diamond-producing Marange area of the eastern Manicaland province ensured the ruling party maintained enough financial resources to remain in power.
However, being deputy or in charge of a single portfolio is different from presiding over an entire government. The important question now is what type of changes Mnangagwa will be able to make in Zimbabwe. The Zimbabwean economy has deteriorated because of the ruling party's policies, especially the seizure of commercial farmland operated by white Zimbabwean farmers. While Mugabe may have been unwilling to reverse these harmful policies, preferring to safeguard his sense of legacy toward black liberation, Mnangagwa will have an unencumbered fresh start.
To regenerate the beleaguered economy, the rising president will have to support economic reforms. Stratfor sources also say the vice president has adopted a strong stance against corruption, a substantial obstacle to economic reform.
The timing of Mugabe's death cannot be predicted, so it is unclear when Mnangagwa will officially take control of the Zimbabwean government. However, the current president, who is increasingly focusing on international diplomacy through his role as chairman of the African Union, is frequently abroad. Often his trips, especially to East Asian countries, are for medical purposes. For all intents and purposes, Mnangagwa has assumed governance of Zimbabwe.
*Zimbabwes Succession Plan Clarifies is republished with permission of Stratfor. www.stratfor.com