Zanu PF youth league boss in trouble

HARARE - Zanu PF national secretary for the youth league Pupurai Togarepi faces the axe after falling out with the First Lady Grace Mugabe-aligned Generation 40 (G40) faction on allegations of clandestinely working with a rival faction led by Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, it has emerged.

Sources in the ruling party’s youth league national executive told the Daily News yesterday that Zanu PF youths aligned to Grace in the race to succeed 91-year-old President Robert Mugabe were no longer comfortable with Togarepi’s continued stay as their leader, apparently because he is hobnobbing with the Mnangagwa camp.

The youths said such suspicions explained his absence at the recent unveiling of a $10 million Local Empowerment Acceleration Facility (Leaf) to fund youths, women and disabled people’s enterprises.

The fallout, the youths said, was also the reason why Grace snubbed the Togarepi-chaired Zimbabwe National Liberation War Collaborators Association (Zlwaco) conference held in Masvingo at the weekend.

“There are serious reservations about his (Togarepi) allegiance to the G40 group as evidenced by his absence at the event graced by Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko and  (Youth minister Patrick) Zhuwao,” said a youth league executive member.

Contacted for comment Togarepi attempted to play down the fallout saying his absence at the youth fund launch was a result of other commitments.

“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.

But Zanu PF women’s league members in Harare province said they are not happy because the youth leader is supping with people opposed to the first lady.

Other sources privy to intricate details of the party activities in Masvingo said Togarepi’s problems started in September when he sprang to the defence of the Zanu PF youth league chairperson for Bulawayo province Khumbulani Mpofu who had been ousted in a vote of no confidence on allegations of extorting local companies claiming to be fundraising for the party.

Following Mpofu’s vote of no confidence, Togarepi ordered his reinstatement arguing that he had no case to answer much to the chagrin of politburo members Sandi Moyo and Joshua Malinga, both close allies of Grace, who immediately reprimanded him.

Moyo described Togarepi as a leader who is ignorant of party rules and who expresses “his irrelevant opinion”.

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