HARARE - The factional and succession wars devouring President Robert Mugabe’s post-congess Zanu PF have plumbed new lows after a disciplinary committee in embattled Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s Midlands heartland returned a hotly-disputed verdict on raging infighting in the troubled province.
Well-placed sources told the Daily News yesterday that the ruling party faction known as the Generation 40 (G40) were “livid” with the controversial acquittal of Mnangagwa’s allies at the weekend, who stood accused of intimidating three ministers seen as opposed to the VP’s mooted presidential aspirations.
In a stunning development, the Midlands disciplinary committee, which was directed to look into the matter, accused the three ministers — Makhosini Hlongwane, Tapuwa Matangaidze and Annastancia Ndhlovu — of causing disharmony in the party by fingering the VP’s allies.
The alleged allies of the VP who were under the cosh for allegedly harassing the three ministers and bad-mouthing other senior party officials are Midlands secretary for security Owen Mudha Ncube, legislator and youth league secretary for administration Justice Mayor Wadyajena and provincial youth chairperson Edmore Samambwa.
The regional disciplinary committee, which now itself stands accused of having been led by alleged Mnangagwa supporters, and of reaching “a decidedly factional” verdict concluded that the three ministers had failed to substantiate their claims.
“It’s the conclusion of this committee that there are no reasonable grounds for even suspecting that the accused persons committed the alleged acts of misconduct.
“The allegations are just bald and lacking substantiation. It appears the complainants sat down and connived to fabricate these allegations to paint a very negative picture of the Midlands province in the eyes of the First Family.
“There was a clear desperate attempt by the complainants to try and involve the names of President Robert Mugabe and First Lady Cde Grace Mugabe,” the committee said scathingly.
“That’s very unfortunate and such conduct needs to be discouraged and condemned in the strongest terms. The inference of an alternative centre of power which is not clarified or substantiated makes the conduct of the complainants reprehensible.
“It’s equally reprehensible to infer unproven and absurd sexual orientation to senior members of the party and attribute such statements to others and fail to furnish adequate proof.
“The complainants appear bent on causing disharmony within the revolutionary party. The accused are known Zanu PF strong supporters, who have stood firmly with the First Family in the face of adversity,” it added.
While the verdict has sparked wild celebrations among Mnangagwa’s followers, including seemingly premature gloating on social media by Wadyajena, it has agitated the Zanu PF constituency opposed to the VP, whom they derisively describe as “unelectable”.
“The celebrations by Team Lacoste (Mnangagwa camp) are wholly misplaced. The majority of the people in the party feel that the provincial disciplinary committee did an extremely shoddy and partisan job.
“To that extent, we will move to undo the damage it has caused.
“It is our fervent hope that the NDC (national disciplinary committee) will pick up this matter expeditiously and ensure that fairness prevails and that successionists (Zanu PF code for Mnangagwa’s camp) are stopped dead in their tracks,” a regional party official linked to the G40 said.
Contacted for comment, Zanu PF national political commissar Saviour Kasukuwere confirmed to the Daily News yesterday that the case was indeed far from over.
“The Midlands case is not shut and closed. In fact it is only the beginning because we need to be meticulous and look at the case more thoroughly to get the real details.
“We will get to the bottom of the matter when I get the report of the (regional) disciplinary committee,” he said.
But another official identified with the Mnangagwa camp said he was confident that the matter had been “finalised”, as the three ministers had allegedly raised false claims, including attempts to “de-legitimise” the work of the chairman of the hearing, Daniel Mackenzie Ncube.
“They may try what they can but they are clutching at straws. It’s done and it is finished,” he said.
Ncube himself also poured cold water on claims that he had not been impartial throughout the hearing, insisting that he had done his work according to the instructions he had been given by his superiors.
“They (complainants) told us that they had witnesses but they refused to name them. So, what else could we possibly have done? We followed the party constitution when we dealt with their case.
“If they are not happy they can appeal to the national disciplinary committee which has the power to either vary, reject or adopt our recommendations because we are a lower organ,” he said.
In the meantime, the committee’s recommendations will be forwarded to the NDC, which is dominated by officials linked to the G40, including Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko, influential First Lady Grace Mugabe, and Kasukuwere.