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UZ political sciencist dismissed NPF as a significant challenge to Mnangagwa

University of Zimbabwe political science lecturer Eldred Masunungure dismissed the NPF as a significant challenge to President Emmerson Mnangagwa and Zanu-PF. Yesterday, the NPF ended weeks of speculation over whether G40 members would be part of the country's newest political outfit after it publicly paraded and outed many of them.

"I don't think the party will survive, and I doubt that it will fly very far. The G40 is largely discredited and there are no new faces there that can overcome the stigma that is associated with the new party.

"If those who fail to make it in Zanu-PF think that they have a chance in NPF, it could mean of course that they could try their luck there.

"But I think the real fight is between Zanu-PF and the MDC. Yes, it (NPF) could affect Zanu-PF, but I don't think it will cause any major upsets," Masunungure told the Daily News.

But academic Ibbo Mandaza, one of the harshest critics of Mnangagwa's government, said without Mugabe Zanu-PF was "as good as dead".

"Clearly, judging from the people in the party, Zanu-PF is torn, it is wounded. Zanu-PF will never survive post-Mugabe ... some would say Zanu-PF is dead," Mandaza added.

The tables were turned on the then seemingly untouchable Mugabe on November 21 last year when he resigned moments after Parliament had started damaging proceedings to impeach him.

This followed a military intervention that was code-named Operation Restore Legacy, which saw the nonagenarian and his then equally powerful wife, Grace, being placed under house arrest.

Several Cabinet ministers linked to the G40 faction were also targeted in the operation, which ended just before Christmas - with the military only retreating back to their barracks after five weeks of executing the operation.

Mugabe has publicly been at loggerheads with Mnangagwa's administration ever since he broke his silence over his stunning ouster. He has complained about the manner in which he lost power, as well as the alleged harassment that he is suffering at the hands of the new authorities.

Lately, his former allies have also made desperate distress calls to both sitting and former heads of State on the continent, on fears that the government may arrest the nonagenarian and his unhinged wife Grace over allegations that he engaged in myriad criminal activities while in power.

Grace is already under serious police investigation after being implicated in the smuggling of the country's ivory stocks, with several other ongoing probes said to be targeting the former first lady in the offing.

Mugabe fell out with Mnangagwa when he fired the country's new leader both from being his deputy in government and from Zanu-PF in November last year, as the nonagenarian's long-drawn succession war boiled over.

They had until then shared a very close relationship that dated back to the days of the liberation struggle when Mnangagwa was the 94-year-old's aide.

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Chuka (Webby) Aniemeka

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