EMBATTLED AND IN TROUBLE? Former Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe

Relations between Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa and his predecessor Robert Mugabe are deteriorating.

This week, the head of state was strongly upset by the alleged support of former President Mugabe to a new political party, the National Patriotic Front (NPF).

The NPF was launched the week before by relatives of former first lady Grace Mugabe, who do not recognize the legitimacy of Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government.

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And Mnangagwa openly expressed dissatisfaction with Zimbabwe’s ex-strongman. ”We will look into the problem,” he told a meeting of the ruling party, adding: “And if these allegations are true, we will take action.”

In Zimbabwe, a photo of Robert Mugabe posing with the head of a new formation, a retired ex-military General Ambrose Mutinhiri, is controversial. Notably because Mutinhiri has already announced that he will challenge the legitimacy of Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government in the Constitutional Court.

The photo was widely interpreted as support from the former president to the NPF, and especially an attack on the Mnangagwa government.

Mugabe’s return to the public arena and his apparent support for a new party falls just months before new elections, and at a time President Mnangagwa is under pressure to quickly transform his country or lose the support of the street.

In February, during a meeting with the chairman of the African Union Commission Moussa Faki, the former head of state complained that he was deposed through a coup d’etat.