Mnangagwa takes his annual leave, chooses to remain in the country

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By Nkosana Dlamini

PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa has taken a three-week annual leave but has chosen to enjoy his vacation within the country’s borders for reasons best known to himself.

Mnangagwa, according to a Wednesday statement by Presidential Spokesman and Acting Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet, George Charamba will be back in office end of the month.

“The Office of the President and Cabinet wishes to advise that His Excellency the President, Cde E.D. Mnangagwa, has started his annual vacation which runs for the next three weeks until the end of the month,” he said.

Charamba added without giving any reasons, “The President will spend his vacation in the country.”

In his absence, Vice Presidents Constantino Chiwenga and Kembo Mohadi will act on his behalf, starting with the former.

Since coming in as President, Mnangagwa has displayed enough cravings for foreign travel, often hiring himself expensive jets to fly to distant destinations against public condemnation for propensity to spend lavishly against the spirit of a faltering economy.

But his decision to enjoy his vacation inside the country and not outside will trigger a lot of talk by those who have been keenly observing the country’s dog-eat-dog politics.

Mnangagwa succeeded late President Robert Mugabe he removed in a military assisted coup back in November 2017.

Zimbabwean media was last month awash with claims Mnangagwa has avoided any foreign travels since his deputy, Chiwenga returned from four months of continuous treatment in a Chinese hospital for chronic ailment.

Chiwenga is former military commander who sent Mugabe packing and is seen as harbouring his own presidential ambitions.

There has been growing speculation of a power struggle between Mnangagwa and his deputy over resources and signs of a split in the security forces, though they have denied tensions. Chiwenga is widely believed to retain the loyalty of the presidential guard.

The Zanu PF leader was last year forced to cut short a trip to Davos meetings ostensibly to come and attend to what was already a week of a crackdown on opposition and civic activists during the ill-fated January 2019 protests.

But Mnangagwa has shown that civil unrest was least of his worries to remain outside the country, having adamantly refused to cut short his whirlwind tour of EuroAsia last year when fierce riots broke out against his rule.

However, there was talk Mnangagwa could have finally decided to return when there were fears his Zanu PF colleagues were increasingly showing disgruntlement over his continued leadership.