As chaos in the post-congress Zanu PF continues to reign supreme, the party’s youths are lobbying for the ouster of national youth league secretary Pupurai Togarepi over alleged incompetence and his replacement with President Robert Mugabe’s nephew and Indigenisation minister Patrick Zhuwao.
Although the party leadership has stated that the party conference in Victoria Falls will not be elective, youths and women’s league members from various provinces aligned to the Generation 40 (G40) faction told the Daily News yesterday that they wanted Mugabe to demote Togarepi at the Zanu PF conference in December because he was allegedly working with a rival faction led by Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa in the battle to succeed 91-year-old Mugabe.
“We want the president to appoint Zhuwao as our representative in the politburo because we are fed up with Togarepi’s incompetence which has seen so much indiscipline within the youth ranks where national executive members such as Sibongile Sibanda are administering a provocative WhatsApp group called Zim 1 on which they attack the person of the first lady daily,” a Mashonaland Central youth provincial executive member said.
“The same thing is happening in this province as the majority of youths are participating in a Godfrey Tsenengamu-administered platform, Dare Rechimurenga, which is also critical of her, yet Togarepi has not condemned what is happening”.
Tsenengamu refused to comment on the allegations saying he was not allowed to speak to the independent media.
Four provincial youth chairpersons including Tsenengamu (Mashonaland Central) and others from Mashonaland West, Harare and Bulawayo provinces aligned to the Mnangagwa camp have so far been suspended for various reasons, a development which has reportedly emboldened the G40 youths to go for their boss’s head.
On the other hand, the sources say, the Zanu PF women’s league is miffed by Togarepi’s apparent ingratitude to First Lady Grace Mugabe “after she plucked him from obscurity to the revolutionary party’s politburo and now he is flirting with the enemy for tribal reasons as he is a Karanga”.
While Togarepi was also not immediately available for comment on the plots against him, he and Zhuwao have in previous interviews with the Daily News, attempted to play down the fallout.
Curiously, Togarepi did not attend the launch of the youth fund by Zhuwao a fortnight ago, triggering speculation that the two are not in the same “basket”.
“I did not attend the launch of the youth fund because I had other commitments. The youth league was aware of the commitments I had, so they represented me not that I snubbed the event or that there was someone who was uncomfortable with my presence,” Togarepi said.
However, youths aligned to Togarepi said while the G40 youths could successfully lobby for his ouster, it was not automatic that their choice for Mugabe’s nephew who was appointed Indigenisation minister in a recent Cabinet reshuffle would sail through.
“It is not Zanu PF’s culture to have people lobbying for an individual’s appointment to Cabinet or politburo as it is the president’s sole prerogative.
“The only person whose appointment was successfully lobbied for was the first lady when she was appointed women’s league secretary so it could be anyone,” an official from the Midlands province said.
The youths also accuse Togarepi of not working hand-in-glove with Zhuwao during his tour of provinces to meet youths, raising suspicion over his factional allegiance.
This, according to insiders, was also the reason why Grace snubbed the Togarepi-chaired Zimbabwe National Liberation War Collaborators Association (Ziliwaco) conference held in Masvingo a fortnight ago.