THE late former Vice-President Simon Muzenda’s son, Tongai, reportedly broke down in tears on Saturday when he met President Robert Mugabe and bared his soul over his alleged political persecution by Zanu PF hawks linked to Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s faction.
The drama occurred when Mugabe flew to Masvingo province at the weekend and met the warring factions in a closed-door meeting at Triangle Country Club.
Sources at the meeting confirmed that the Gutu West legislator, who for long has been linked to the G40 faction, wept before Mugabe and lamented the death of his father.
“He was emotional while explaining that he and Paul Chimedza were denied maize by (Masvingo Provincial Affairs minister Shuvai) Mahofa to distribute to his constituency,” a Zanu PF insider told NewsDay.
“He said: ‘it is hard to lose a father. Some people who want me expelled from Zanu PF were actually officiating at my wedding day, but now they have turned swords against me simply because my father is no more’,” Muzenda reportedly told Mugabe.
Contacted for comment, Muzenda was evasive over the issue, saying: “That was a private meeting and everything discussed there is not meant for media consumption. That is why you were not allowed to attend. I cannot comment on anything about the meeting.”
The ruling party is torn between two factions — G40 which is linked to First Lady Grace Mugabe and another group said to be loyal to Mnangagwa.
Mahofa declined to comment on allegations of politicising food aid and denying Muzenda and Chimedza’s constituencies’ access to government-sourced food aid.
After the five-hour-long meeting with legislators and the provincial executive, Mugabe failed to douse the factional fires as both factions dug in to their positions.
Zanu PF secretary for administration Ignatius Chombo later said that dates for a follow-up meeting would be announced in due course.
Most of Mnangagwa’s loyalists were reportedly barred from the weekend meeting.
Earlier, Mugabe had a one-and-a-half hour briefing with Psychomotor minister Josaya Hungwe, Mahofa, Chombo, Tourism minister Walter Mzembi, Zanu PF political commissar Saviour Kasukuwere, Lands minister Douglas Mombeshora and Chiefs Council president Chief Fortune Charumbira. After the meeting which ended after 6pm, Mugabe uncharacteristically left in a huff without addressing the hordes of Zanu PF supporters gathered outside the venue.