A faction aligned to First Lady Grace Mugabe is ratcheting up pressure against Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa amid an admission by the youth league that its proposed “one million man march” is targeted at Zanu PF leaders opposed to President Robert Mugabe.
The proposed march, spearheaded by the Zanu PF youth league, is already causing friction in the ruling party, which is now divided between the Grace-aligned G40 faction and another one backing Mnangagwa.
Mnangagwa is backed by war veterans whose “one million man march” saved Mugabe from an internal Zanu PF revolt in 2007.
Zanu PF youth league deputy secretary Kudzi Chipanga yesterday said they were aware that some people were mobilising against the march set for the first week of May. He said the youths were prepared to face their opponents.
“Those people mobilising against the march are some of the officials we are marching against,” he said.
“We know there are people in the party who are double dipping, whereby during the day they will be saying forward with the president and during the night they say down with him.”
He said there were officials in Zanu PF that wanted to push Mugabe out of power, but youths would resist their efforts.
“We know them. We are not bothered. The fact that they are trying to sabotage the march in solidarity with the president also confirms that they have a different agenda,” he said. “We are for the president and they are for other alternatives.”
Chipanga said a police clearance was being sought for the march, which he claimed did not need the blessing of Zanu PF to go ahead.
But sources insisted the march was aimed at propping up G40 in their bruising battle against war veterans.
Zanu PF spokesperson Simon Khaya-Moyo said he will only comment when he sees the statement from the youth league.
Pupurai Togarepi, the underfire Zanu PF secretary for youths, said the solidarity march was welcome.
“Anything coming out from a person of authority, especially in our big organisation like Zanu PF, means it is authorised. Whatever they are doing, it is done to strengthen the party,” he said.
Meanwhile, Mnangagwa’s faction is preparing for a showdown with Zanu PF commissar Saviour Kasukuwere when he visits the warring Midlands this week.
Kasukuwere — who is linked to G40 — will visit Midlands after officials linked to Mnangagwa defied his directive to suspend Zanu PF meetings until problems that have led to the creation of parallel structures were solved.
Mnangagwa’s faction is said to be in control of grassroots structures, hence its defiance.
“There are 120 PCC [provincial coordinating committee] members and Mnangagwa’s faction controls over a 100 of them,” said a source.
“The faction has also mobilised the grassroots following meetings in Zvishavane, Gokwe and Kwekwe where acting chairperson Tapiwa Matangaidze, commissar Makhosini Hlongwane and Anastancia Ndlovu were openly attacked.”
Eighty PCC members recently passed a vote of no confidence on Matangaidze, Hlongwane and Ndlovhu.
Matangaidze’s group in turn passed a vote no confidence on politburo member July Moyo, central committee member Victor Matemadanda, spokesman Cornelius Mupereri and a number of other Mnangagwa allies.
Sources said the Mnangagwa faction was planning to bus its supporters to the meeting Kasukuwere wants held after Easter.
War veterans’ leader Victor Mutematanda set the ball rolling at a Kwekwe meeting last Thursday when he launched a scathing attack on Kasukuwere.
He accused Kasukuwere of using Grace’s name to advance G40’s interests.
Muperi said they would not heed Kasukuwere’s directive not to hold meetings.
“We will continue with our programmes because the party is not run through newspapers,” he said.
“That letter you say came from our commissariat has not been delivered to us and we do not take instructions from newspaper articles but from proper channels.
Kasukuwere said he was unaware that the Midlands PCC was holding meetings in defiance of his directive.
“I can only talk about the issues after assessing the information on the ground and I cannot comment over a meeting which I did not attend,” he said.
Grace first attacked Mnangagwa in public last month at a rally in Chiweshe, triggering many events that threatened to split Zanu PF, including a demonstration by war veterans that was brutally crushed by the police.