HARARE – As Zanu PF’s seemingly-unstoppable succession wars continue to escalate, the party faction loyal to embattled Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa is intensifying its fight-back programmes nationally, targeting all perceived supporters of First Lady Grace Mugabe and her Generation 40 (G40) allies.
Well-placed Zanu PF sources who spoke to the Daily News yesterday said Team Lacoste (Mnangagwa faction) was stepping up its counter-offensive strategy against the G40, who are rabidly opposed to the Midlands godfather succeeding President Robert Mugabe — and allegedly working with the powerful Grace.
“It’s aluta continua (Portuguese for the struggle continues) my friend, there is absolutely no surrender. They (Grace’s allies and G40 members) have been attacking us for more than a year now.
“It’s now time to fight back even harder. After all, it’s better to die on our feet rather than on our knees as has been happening. We have nothing to lose now,” a party official linked to the Mnangagwa faction said ominously.
Sources in the troubled Mashonaland West province, where Mugabe hails from, said they had recently seen signs that Team Lacoste was escalating its alleged “successionist agenda” there after a long period in which the faction had appeared to have been annihilated in the region.
Indeed, in various communications seen by the Daily News this week, Mnangagwa’s supporters in the province are proposing to call for votes of no confidence against a number of regional party bigwigs linked to Grace and the G40.
The officials who are being targeted for the big boot in the province include forthright national women’s league secretary for finance Sarah Mahoka, provincial women’s league boss Angeline Muchemeyi, Simbarashe Ziyambi and businessman Jimayi Muduvuri.
“We as the Mashonaland West Zanu PF members have come together in harmony to lodge a complaint against Ziyambi, Muduvuri, Mahoka and Muchemeyi on allegations of contravening article 28 sub-section 2B of the Zanu PF constitution, dishonest, gross misconduct and failure to discharge functions and responsibilities that are mandated to their positions.
“The four engineered the ouster of Makonde district women’s quota representative Jennifer Mhlanga on allegations of consorting with People First; also they passed a vote of no confidence on Joyline Mundunda, Emely Muurakira, Idah Ngirazi and Martha Munondo.
“Mashonalnd West is a stronghold of Zanu PF so we can’t afford to lose in the 2018 elections because of individuals who are fanning factionalism at the expense of trying to build the empire … Ignatius Chombo (Zanu PF secretary for administration) of late was saying let there be unity in the province but, they (the accused) are against that,” one of the letters seen by the Daily News reads.
Contacted for comment, Ziyambi would only say the allegations were “baseless”, while Muduviri said he would not be swayed in his support of Mugabe and Grace.
“We are behind the president and amai. We will not be intimidated by anyone to desert our God-given leaders. Our slogan is ‘kuna baba ndiko kuna amai’ (where there is the father is where you will find the mother) and anyone who thinks otherwise is lost,” Muduvuri said.
Mahoka, who recently humiliated Mnangagwa, also told the Daily News earlier this week that they would defend Mugabe and his wife to the hilt.
“We will not tolerate anyone who plays around with our leader and the first lady. Anyone who touches them will have touched a raw nerve and we will not spare him. Anofira mahara (such people risk losing their lives for nothing),” she said.
The latest move by Team Lacoste is a counter measure against the G40 faction which has been on the charge in the province for the past few months. Party officials linked to Mnangagwa — such as provincial secretary for education Fani Phiri, political commissar Simon Solomon, secretary for transport Philemon Ndushu and one Sibongile Bhebhe — were recently reprimanded for allegedly fanning factionalism in the ruling party, and are now also facing outright expulsion from the former liberation movement.
In addition, the province last week recommended that former war veterans chairperson Christopher Mutsvangwa be expelled from Parliament, after it also pushed for his ouster from the party.
The intensifying party ructions in Mashonaland West follow a recent move by Team Lacoste to pass votes of no confidence against Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko and other senior officials such as Cabinet ministers Jonathan Moyo and Saviour Kasukuwere — who are all seen as opposed to the Midlands godfather’s ascendancy to the presidency.
As a consequence of Zanu PF’s worsening factional and succession wars, the party has now split into two bitterly-opposed formations in the Midlands and Mashonaland East provinces, with Team Lacoste moving to establish parallel structures from cell level upwards. Indeed, as interim Zanu PF chairperson for the Midlands, Tapiwa Matangaidze, was announcing the party’s decision to sack many of Mnangagwa’s most trusted allies recently, including July Moyo, Team Lacoste was mobilising its followers, creating their own structures.
For example, suspended deputy provincial chairperson Daniel Mackenzie-Ncube has been appointed the acting chairperson by the Mnangagwa faction.