HARARE - Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s key allies in his Midlands heartland face possible expulsion from the warring post-congress Zanu PF as the battle to succeed President Robert Mugabe reaches a crescendo.
This emerged yesterday as the province’s party disciplinary committee started hearing complaints against three of his alleged regional lieutenants — national deputy secretary for administration July Moyo, Gokwe-Nembudziya legislator Justice Mayor Wadyajena and Owen Muda Ncube.
The hearing was initiated after three ministers — Anastasia Ndhlovu, Tapiwa Matangaidze and Makhosini Hlongwane — all now linked to the Generation 40 camp that is said to be rabidly opposed to Mnangagwa, complained to the Zanu PF national leadership that they were being intimidated by the trio.
Deputy provincial chairperson Mackenzie Ncube, who chairs the disciplinary committee, confirmed to the Daily News yesterday, that the trio had already been put to its defence but insisted, however, that the outcome of the hearing would only be announced next week.
“The hearing is still at the preliminary stage but we need to be thorough when accusations are raised against members. It is my first time to handle such matters, so there is need to get to the bottom of the matter, hence we will only be able to announce the outcome next week,” Mackenzie said.
But the Daily News is reliably informed that the G40 has decided that now is the time to press home its advantage in the party’s seemingly-unstoppable factional and succession wars, and get the trio expelled.
“It is tickets for them. They are gone because the evidence against them is overwhelming. There is no need to wait until next week when the facts are all there for everyone to see.
“These people are just buying time, but it will not change anything,” a provincial executive member who is said to be aligned to the G40 said, confirming consistently accurate reports carried by the Daily News on the ugly goings-on in the province.
Apart from the threats allegedly directed at the ministers, the other accusations against Wadyajena relate to claims that he is allegedly disrespectful of the First Family.
He also stands accused of being behind the province’s recent youth wing resolution to have Zanu PF national political commissar Saviour Kasukuwere in favour of someone with liberation war credentials, a demand that was made ahead of the party’s December annual conference in Victoria Falls.
“In war, he who shoots first dies next and Wadyajena is a legitimate target because he made the first shot,” a provincial youth member said to be aligned to the G40 said last week.
“He has been fighting the commissar in public and making the wrong headlines in newspapers. Now we have an opportunity to show him that his misplaced youthful exuberance does not work in politics. Just watch, we will reduce him to his correct size.
“He will soon learn that the party leadership will not protect you when you cross the red line as he has done on many occasions, because if they raise a helping hand they will be exposing themselves as being the ones inciting you,” the youth member added.
Wadyajena, who chairs the parliamentary portfolio committee on Indigenisation, has previously clashed with Kasukuwere in the National Assembly over the manner in which the Local Government minister distributed youth funds when he was Indigenisation minister.
The two men’s fierce clash then saw Zanu PF youths in Harare baying for Wadyajena’s blood soon afterwards, demanding his expulsion from the party.
On the other hand, Kizito Chivamba, the Midlands party provincial chairperson, is said to be the next bigwig facing the boot after he was recently admonished by Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko for mispronouncing the VP’s name during a rally in the province that was addressed by First Lady Grace Mugabe.
And with critics noting that Mnangagwa was struggling to live up to the popular caricature of his nickname, that of a ruthless crocodile and his supporters being pummelled left, right and centre by their marauding G40 opponents, it remains to be seen whether “Lacoste” will finally come to the rescue of his foot soldiers.
But insiders who spoke to the newspaper pointed to what happened a decade ago when many of the VP’s most ardent supporters were decimated after the so-called Tsholotsho Declaration, after being accused of plotting to oust Mugabe from power.
The insiders claimed that history was repeating itself as his close allies were again being picked off one by one like lambs to the slaughter, further predicting that Lacoste, as Mnangagwa is fondly referred to by his loyal followers, would not do anything to protect leading members of his support group who were on the receiving end of the savage and unrelenting factional mauling.
Among the alleged allies of Mnangagwa who have recently come under severe pressure from inside Zanu PF are Wadyajena, Water minister Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri, former Manicaland women’s league chairperson Happiness Nyakuedzwa, and the power couple of Monica and Christopher Mutsvangwa.
Wadyajena stands accused of denigrating Grace while he was allegedly engaging in “political banter” with businessman and fellow Zanu PF official Jimayi Muduvuri during the ruling party’s annual conference late last year.
Nyakuedzwa and another alleged VP close ally, former Mashonaland Central youth league chairperson Godfrey Tsenengamu, were recently suspended from the ruling party for five years on allegations of fanning factionalism.
Former Harare provincial chairperson Godwills Masimirembwa, former Harare women’s league chairperson Ratidzo Mukarati and former Masvingo chairperson Paradzai Chakona — all perceived strong backers of Mnangagwa — have also suffered votes of no confidence that were upheld by the party.
Recently, War Veterans minister Christopher Mutsvangwa — one of Mnangagwa’s closest and most vocal allies — also received a vote of no confidence from Mashonaland West province, putting both his party and government positions in jeopardy after he tried to take Kasukuwere head-on.
Mutsvangwa’s wife, Monica — a deputy minister — was also recently booted out of the women’s league for defying the first family, while Muchinguri-Kashiri came under severe shellacking in Manicaland and in a recent politburo meeting.
Muchinguri-Kashiri’s troubles, according to insiders who spoke to the Daily News, came after she allegedly told Grace in a politburo meeting that she was the most senior party official in Manicaland, and thus always needed to be consulted on important decisions impacting on the region — in addition to insinuating that Grace had allegedly failed to run the women’s league properly.
And there is no record in all these cases that Mnangagwa has done much to support or protect his allies, a failing that well-placed sources said the VP was guilty of in 2004/5 when his supporters who allegedly included Daniel Shumba, Mike Madiro, Josiah Hungwe and Moyo were cast into the political wilderness for fighting for him.