Vice-President Phelekezela Mphoko yesterday backed Fist Lady Grace Mugabe in calling for President Robert Mugabe to name his successor but also took a jibe at his colleague Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa by emphasising that there was no room for tribalism within the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front.
Speaking in Bulawayo yesterday Mphoko was quoted by the Sunday Mail as saying: “The First Lady is right. The President should be part of the solution to problems going on in the country with regards to who will succeed him. He should do it well and quietly through the structures. He knows how to do it. He is mature and will do it well.”
Grace Mugabe said it was Mugabe’s prerogative to name his successor and no one should query that.
This has not gone down well with some party supporters who feel that the president should be elected by the party, a point Mugabe has emphasised over the years.
Mphoko’s reference to shun tribalism seemed to be aimed at Mnangagwa as he went on to say: “If you think the President is there because he is Zezuru, then you are lost. He is there because he is a leader, so was VP Nkomo. We now have people who are saying since the President is Zezuru, the next President should be Karanga.
“We never fought for that. That is wrong. Those who are pushing this agenda are lost; we will follow what we have always been doing.
“We do not work on tribal grounds. Those who want the Presidency based on whether they are Karanga, Ndebele or Vhitori can go to hell!”
Mnangagwa is Karanga and there is a strong feeling among the Karangas that they have short-changed themselves for too long since they are demographically the majority.