As thousands of Zimbabweans staged a general strike that shut down the country on Wednesday, President Robert Mugabe and his warring Zanu PF lieutenants were trading poisonous accusations about who was behind the stay-away.
Well-placed Zanu PF sources told the Daily News yesterday that the ruling party’s politburo meeting in Harare degenerated into a slanging match — with Mugabe, his powerful wife Grace and the faction opposed to Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa succeeding the nonagenarian, the G40 — insinuating that the Midlands godfather and his backers were involved in the shutdown.
One of the sources said the basis of the allegations levelled against the Mnangagwa faction stemmed from messages that circulated on social media which directed people to boycott businesses linked to G40 kingpins.
“The first lady said it was strange that the protesters seemed to target her family businesses, those of VP (Phelekezela) Mphoko and (Saviour) Kasukuwere only, yet there are several people in the party who also own businesses.
“Everyone in the meeting was convinced that there was an enemy amongst us. Otherwise, how is it possible that opposition protesters targeted one faction in Zanu PF? Isn’t it logical that they should have targeted the whole system? That is the question everyone wanted to know but obviously Team Lacoste denied everything,” one of the sources said.
Some of the messages that circulated on WhatsApp on Tuesday and Wednesday read; “Stop buying Alpha and Omega products, Appetina, Amai Mugabe School or anything from Gushungo Holdings, it’s owned by President R.G Mugabe till he steps down. 2018 is too far.
“Stop giving business to RTG Rainbow Hotel old Sheraton Hotel till Vice President P Mphoko resigns and till he is no longer staying there and stop buying from CHOPPIES Supermarkets Zimbabwe or supporting his business till he steps down and Stop buying fuel at Comoil till he (Kasukuwere) resigns”.
And as had been widely expected, Wednesday’s politburo gathering also resolved to fire war veterans chairman Christopher Mutsvangwa from Zanu PF.
Mutsvangwa is said to be one of Mnangagwa’s key allies.
The politburo also recommended either the suspension or expulsion of 13 other officials who were appealing decisions by the party’s National Disciplinary Committee (NDC). The appeals committee is headed by Mphoko who is linked to the G40.
The appeals committee also upheld the expulsions of former Midlands youth chairperson Edmore Samambwa, his Mashonaland West and Mash Central counterparts, Vengai Musengi and Godfrey Tsenengamu.