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New Mugabe-Backed Political Outfit ‘Not a Threat to Mnangagwa’s Rule’

Zimbabwe’s recently formed political party, the National Patriotic Front (NPF), is not likely to threaten President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s rule, an analyst has said.

In an interview with News24, Derek Matyszak, who is a political and security consultant, said that the newly formed political outfit was just a project by former president Robert Mugabe’s allies, and it was highly unlikely that it would pose any serious threat to Mnangagwa’s government.

A former army brigadier, Ambrose Mutinhiri, who quit Zimbabwe’s ruling Zanu-PF party to protest the removal of former leader Robert Mugabe, was last week reported to be the leader of the new political party.

State media said that Mutinhiri, a veteran of the 1970s war against white minority, had Mugabe’s backing.

Mutinhiri’s resigned from parliament recently, citing the military intervention that pressured 94-year-old Mugabe into stepping down in November as his reason for cutting ties with the ruling Zanu-PF party.

But according to Matyszak, although the party boasted having Mugabe’s support, it was “wishful thinking” to believe that it had the “gravitas to challenge the ruling Zanu-PF party”.

Matyszak said that the NPF was a “project aimed at taking over and continuing with Mugabe’s legacy”.

“They seem to be alarmed by Mnangagwa’s rule… It remains unclear how Mugabe is going to play a role in this new party… I don’t see them mounting any significant challenge against the ruling party,” said Matyszak.

Mugabe recently criticised president Mnangagwa and demanded an apology over his ousting.

During a private party at his Harare mansion to celebrate his 94th birthday, the nonagenarian said Mnangagwa and his allies should apologise for last year’s military operation that ousted him from power – and he doesn’t think Zanu-PF will win this year’s polls.

But Matyszak said that it was “hypocritical” of Mugabe to demand an apology from his successor.

“It’s hypocritical for him to demand an apology from the president after he oversaw the most brutal regime under the Zanu-PF banner for years. I don’t think it is right for him to complain about the trampling of democracy and constitution after the atrocities carried out by his regime particularly in 2008,” said Matyszak.

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