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Meet Emmerson Mnangagwa, The Man Who Could Replace Robert Mugabe As Zimbabwe's Next President

Robert Mugabe, Africa’s oldest president and one of the world’s longest-serving leaders, has said that he will only give up power “when God...

Robert Mugabe, Africa’s oldest president and one of the world’s longest-serving leaders,has said that he will only give up power “when God says ‘Come.’”

But it looks as though a military intervention, rather than a divine one, may be about to bring Mugabe’s 37-year stint in power to an end. And one man looks set to profit from the dramatic turn of events in Zimbabwe: Mugabe’s former deputy, Emmerson Mnangagwa.

The Zimbabwe military took control of the state broadcaster, Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation, early Wednesday and has reportedly detained prominent members of the ruling ZANU-PF party, though it insisted that the 93-year-old president and his family were “safe and sound.”

While much of the information coming out of the capital Harare remains unclear, there are unconfirmed reports that Mnangagwa may be behind the military takeover, which the army is insisting is not a coup.
Meet Emmerson Mnangagwa, the Man Who Could Replace Robert Mugabe as Zimbabwe's Next President
Doug Coltart, a human rights lawyer based in Zimbabwe, says that the city is largely calm but that he is concerned by what could turn out to be an “unconstitutional transition of power.”

“Our biggest concern at this stage is there’s absolutely no guarantee that this type of transition will result in democratic consolidation on the other side of it. I think that there is a very real possibility that this could be just a consolidation of more of the same with a different face,” Coltart, 26, tells Newsweek.

Until last week, Mnangagwa was one of Mugabe’s closest allies. The 75-year-old is a veteran of the country’s independence war—which ended in 1980 with Mugabe coming to power—and has since then held a range of top political and military positions. Mnangagwa’s stature as a war veteran and his history in the military means he has developed a strong support base among the country’s armed forces.
The move appeared to confirm Mnangagwa as Mugabe’s anointed successor, but in recent years, an intense rivalry has developed between the former vice-president and the first lady. ZANU-PF has split into factions—one, known as the Lacoste faction, backing Mnangagwa; the other, G40, supporting Grace Mugabe—and the first lady has called Mnangagwa out for allegedly undermining the president.

The final straw came over the weekend of November 4-5. Grace Mugabe was booed at a party rally in Bulawayo, allegedly by Mnangagwa supporters. The booing prompted a furious response from the president, who threatened to ax Mnangagwa. By November 6, Mnangagwa had been dismissed for “disloyalty, disrespect and deceitfulness.” 
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