Zanu PF’s ambitious Young Turks known as the Generation 40 (G40) group, working in cahoots with other allies of President Robert Mugabe’s controversial wife Grace, are moving in on plucky War Veterans minister Christopher Mutsvangwa and his wife Monica, the Daily News has learnt.
The power couple, both war veterans and believed to be in the camp of embattled Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, now bizarrely stand accused of being “closet supporters” of former Vice President Joice Mujuru as the ruling party’s seemingly unstoppable factional and succession wars get uglier and more confused.
“The strategy to neutralise Ngwena (Mnangagwa) in the succession war by hammering his most ardent and dedicated supporters is gathering steam. The fact is that Chris and his wife, with their solid liberation credentials, have been identified as two of Ngwena’s allies who must be eliminated at all costs, hence the false claim that they are Mujuru followers.
“Sadly, and as you know, Amai Mujuru’s name is like a swear word in some sections of the party, and any mention of her name at the moment results in unmerited action being taken against otherwise innocent people,” a Zanu PF central committee member said yesterday.
People First spokesperson Rugare Gumbo told the Daily News that it was true that there was a belief in the faction-ridden post-congress Zanu PF that invoking Mujuru’s name would result in “the powers that be” acting against accused members.
“They think that if you just say Mai Mujuru the powers that be will react, but we are not concerned about petty issues such as their continuation in abusing her name. The fact is we are no longer in their party.
“Our focus is on uniting the people of Zimbabwe. We have a vision that we hope will guide the people. We are fully focused, we are not about witch-hunts. We want solutions for Zimbabwe’s myriad problems, not useless fights that never end,” Gumbo said.
Another senior Zanu PF official also said it was clear that acting party chairperson for Masvingo Paradzai Chakona had been removed from his position because of “the factionalism and succession thing”, adding that the ongoing distubances in the Bulawayo chapter of the war veterans structures was also related to Mugabe’s succession.
“This is the reason why they are now calling on President Mugabe to act swiftly and replace Mutsvangwa, as they accuse him of being part of the so-called Mujuru putschist cabal and being a directionless and devout factionalist,” he said.
This comes after war veterans from different factions engaged in fist fights over the weekend at the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association’s (ZNLWVA’s) Bulawayo headquarters in Entumbane.
Two women were left injured as the opposing camps fought for legitimacy at a meeting which was also attended by war collaborators, political detainees and ex-restrictees.
The pandemonium, which saw the camp aligned to George Mlala being blocked from entering the venue, only stopped after the intervention of the police.
Since Mutsvangwa took over as war veterans leader last year, war vets in Bulawayo have been divided into two camps — one led by Council of Elders member George Mlala, said to be close to the G40 faction, and the other by Cephas Ncube, which stands accused of being loyal to the expelled Jabulani Sibanda executive.
Much to the dismay of Mlala and his camp, Mutsvangwa has endorsed the Ncube led executive, which has complicated his own within the party as Ncube is linked to Sibanda, who is a close Mujuru ally.
“These people (Mlala group) should go hang. They should back off. If you see people fighting for positions, it is a sign of poverty. They want to get the positions so that they enrich themselves. They should not come here and cause chaos.
Let them go hang,” Mutsvangwa said at the weekend.
However, the Mlala camp has since moved to hold another meeting in the city, where they openly declared that they would take the fight to the minister.
“The complaint is that why did we fight Jabu (Sibanda) then if his people are still in the war veterans system?” Mlala asked, scathingly equating Mutsvangwa to the expelled firebrand war veterans’ leader.
“The same thing that Jabulani was ousted for is the same thing that Mutsvangwa is doing. He is creating a political camp. He has completely shifted from the war veterans agenda into a political agenda. He is protecting these people because they are in the same camp, the Mujuru faction,” he added.
It is also not helping him, that Mutsvangwa recently said nice things about Mujuru, with regards to her liberation credentials — something that is now being used by his party enemies against him.
Mlala also accused Mutsvangwa of abusing his roles as war veterans chairperson and minister of war veterans to achieve his “political interests”.
“If Mutsvangwa has seen that it was wrong to persecute Jabulani he should tell the nation that he is sorry. It’s never too late. And that will also be extended to Mujuru. Honestly, there is no point in condemning the orange tree yet you enjoy so much the fruits of that same tree,” he charged.
Meanwhile, Chakona, who also stands accused of being a member of the Mujuru camp said yesterday that he was awaiting to hear from the national disciplinary committee about his fate, following his ouster from power by his provincial colleagues.
“When things are like this I cannot comment because we will be prejudicing what is before the national committee. I don’t want to comment because these issues are not in my hands anymore.
“Until I am called by the disciplinary committee, I will not say anything,” Chakona said diplomatically.
Miffed by the deadly wars in his party, Mugabe recently gagged his followers from making comments to the private media, and many are now scared of publicly pronouncing on their positions.