HARARE - Unable to respond to the unrelenting pummelling that they are receiving from Zanu PF’s Young Turks — the Generation 40 (G40) — the ruling party faction aligned to embattled Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa is once again agitating for Higher Education minister Jonathan Moyo to be expelled from the party.
Well-placed Zanu PF sources who spoke to the Daily News yesterday said Team Lacoste, as the Mnangagwa faction is known, “is only too aware that it cannot match” the G40 in the propaganda war, notwithstanding the fact that the camp now enjoyed unfettered control of State media.
One of the insiders linked to the VP’s camp said so angry were Mnangagwa’s allies with Moyo — whom they view as the mastermind of the G40 said to be rabidly opposed to the Midlands godfather succeeding President Robert Mugabe — that they would “push hard for his dismissal or suspension for at least five years” from the party at Wednesday’s politburo meeting in Harare.
“It’s going to be war at the meeting, with many comrades feeling that Jonathan has crossed the line in his attacks on Ngwena (Mnangagwa). To that extent, he must suffer the same consequence as those who worked with (former Vice President Joice) Mujuru,” the agitated politburo member said.
Other sources said the strategy by Team Lacoste going into Wednesday’s politburo meeting was to isolate Moyo — seen as the brains and the most energetic member of the G40 — from the other perceived supporters and kingpins of the camp such as First Lady Grace Mugabe, Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko, Local Government minister Saviour Kasukuwere, and Mugabe’s nephew and Indigenisation minister, Patrick Zhuwao.
“Their plan is to decapitate the G40 brains trust, of which Moyo has been identified as the most dangerous and committed member. This is why they are planning to isolate him from the rest of the group and then push for his summary expulsion on Wednesday.
“Their problem is that their plot is transparent and will backfire on them. Vanyangira yaona (we have seen through their machinations) as exposed by State media over the past few weeks.
“The main problem that the party is facing is that we got rid of one faction in 2014, the Mujuru faction, and left the other destructive faction standing (Mnangagwa faction). Now we are reaping the whirlwinds of that bad decision,” another politburo member said.
“We are aware of their plans but it won’t work because some of those appointed to certain positions are now using State media to push their factional agendas.
“It goes without saying that State media are being used to put certain ideas in the head of the president, but the truth is that the president is yet to speak on the issues.
“Remember, during the Mujuru days the likes of Rugare Gumbo and (Simon) Khama Moyo also claimed to speak for the president and then what happened to them later?” another senior party official told the Daily News.
The renewed push to purge Moyo comes as the Tsholotsho North legislator revealed at the weekend that his troubles with Team Lacoste began after his May 2015 interview with the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) in which he said Mnangagwa was not heir-apparent to Mugabe, with the likes of Information permanent secretary George Charamba going ballistic over the statement.
“I reminded Charamba of 2004 and told him I was not going to be part of Tsholotsho 2 in Harare and that Joice Mujuru was not removed … to replace her with VP Mnangagwa to pursue his own successionist programme against President Mugabe,” he thundered in his weekend interview, before also revealing that he had even recorded his heated conversation with Charamba.
Moyo has also emphasised over the past few days the point that after the decimation of the Mujuru faction in 2014, only one faction linked to Mnangagwa had remained in the party.
The sharp-tongued Moyo upped his fight- back rhetoric yesterday, tweeting that, “There’s overwhelming & very serious evidence that Charamba & @HeraldZimbabwe have gone rogue against the President. Handei tione (bring it on)!”.
“Charamba in June 2015 @HeraldZimbabwe: In the twilight of President Mugabe’s leadership, we badly need a frank debate on leadership! Record of his Manheru column proves he’s done so since June 2015 & he raised the stakes 2 wks with total collusion of @HeraldZimbabwe!,” Moyo added.
This is not the first time that Team Lacoste has pushed for Moyo’s sacking from both the ruling party and the government, a similar effort having been made late last year.
“It is now abundantly clear that Tyson (Kasukuwere) and Jonathan are working to frustrate and decapitate Ngwena (Mnangagwa) politically, in the same way Mai Mujuru was dealt with.
“Their modus operandi has also become clear to everyone, and this is to create and stoke an imaginary wedge between Ngwena and Dr Amai (Grace), so that in the end Ngwena is effectively seen as fighting the president.
“One just has to look at Kasukuwere’s party games and Jonathan’s social media postings to see this transparent plot. Fortunately, even the blind now see the games ... let’s see how they manoeuvre themselves out of this mess,” a senior Zanu PF official seen as sympathetic to Mnangagwa said then.
Another party official also said then that the Mnangagwa faction was gathering “damning information and evidence” against Kasukuwere and Moyo in a bid to get Mugabe to fire them from both Cabinet and the politburo on account of their alleged “over-weening ambition and divisive tendencies”.
Secrets-averse prominent Zanu PF member and self-styled Mnangagwa follower, Energy Mutodi, appeared to be also privy to the talk at the time, writing on his Facebook page that Mugabe would soon be asked to consider removing the two ministers from his Cabinet, “to necessitate unity and progress in both the government and the party”.