NOW DAILY NEWS ANALYSIS
Authorities have confirmed that Justice Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa retains the post of Chairman of the apex security council, the Joint Operations Command (JOC) despite President Mugabe re-assigning him from the Ministry of Defence following elections last July.
Mnangagwa surprised many when he chaired a JOC meeting last week, according to senior security sources.
The development immediately sparked fresh controversy about the Mugabe succession debate.
The JOC comprises security chiefs from the Ministries of Defence, State Security, Home Affairs and Mnangagwa’s Justice, under which the Prison Service falls.
One news site claimed that the meeting discussed the issue of the Presidency. It was felt that the Zanu PF congress set for December would be problematic as it would further divide the party. It was reportedly agreed that Mnangagwa and the military generals that he controls should steer Zimbabwe to a peaceful transition if Mugabe stepped down because of poor health or died.
Mnangagwa lost control of the majority of Zanu PF voting provinces to factions loyal to his main rival Joyce Mujuru. Mnangagwa’s downward spiral appears to have been reversed, however, following the death of Mujuru’s husband, Solomon, in an alleged arson attack that has left the Vice President considerably weak, say sources.
The JOC was constituted in its present form by Mnangagwa in 2008, after Mugabe lost elections to the MDC. Mugabe had announced he was ready to quit but Mnangagwa reportedly told him not to go.
Mnangagwa then reconstituted the security services by sacking or punishing any suspected of disloyalty. Mnangagwa also enjoys the support of the CIO after hiring and training many of them during his tenure as Minister of State Security in the 1980s.